Jazz learn lessons in rebounding, defense

3-point shots from the Jazz’s rebounding seminar the team attended last night in Oakland:

POINT 1: I’m still stunned about the final score (85-78 for the Warriors) and even just the game’s flow. The Warriors came into Friday’s game averaging a hair under 110 points; Utah was both giving up and putting in 106.8 points an outing. My math skills failed me on deadline of the late game, so I’ll let you crunch the numbers. Suffice it to say, both teams were well below their usual offensive outputs by 24-plus points.

Can’t say that I ever remember the Warriors playing defense that well, but Golden State held Utah to the same number of points in a 91-78 win on Nov. 25, 2006 in Oakland, so it isn’t as unprecedented as I’d originally thought. But the Jazz did average 110.3 points against the Warriors last season, 108.8 ppg in 2008-09 and a scoreboard-scorching 123 ppg in three 2007-08 contests.

With the speedy guardline of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, combined with the powerful pair of bigs in Andris Biedrins and David Lee, the Warriors could be both an offensive and defensive power.

They certainly were the latter against the Jazz.

“Our defense,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said, “was really engaged to take away paint scores from this basketball team.”

Smart pulled out an interesting acronym: “We have a saying, ‘DTW: Defense Travels Well.” Meaning, he wants his Warriors to come out hard on the defensive end, which can help keep them in games and create easy scoring opportunities (fast breaks) even if their shots aren’t falling.

And that is exactly what happened Friday. Golden State took a one-point lead into halftime despite a miserable shooting half. And they ended up notching their lowest-scoring win in five years despite only shooting 37.6 percent.

POINT 2: More on the Warriors’ rebounding dominance, which included a 52-46 overall advantage and a game-deciding 21-10 edge on the offensive glass:

“They do a great job getting to the basket. They forced us to get out and help on their penetration. That opens up opportunities,” said Jazz center Al Jefferson, whose 15 rebounds were matched by Lee and five fewer than Biedrins.

“They’re a great combination for them at the four (Lee) and five (Biedrins), and they’re both great offensive rebounders, so it was tough.”

Smart believes it’s a necessity to hit the boards hard against the Jazz.

“You have to rebound against this team to have a chance, because if you don’t they will eat you alive on the glass.”

More rebounding tidbits: Golden State only outrebounded teams 13 times last season but has already done it in four of five games; the Warriors hadn’t outboarded Utah in four years; Biedrins’ 20-rebound game was the fourth in his career and marked the first time since Dec. 12, 2009 that an opponent (Pau Gasol) hit that rebounding level.

POINT 3: The Jazz’s starting backcourt on this night was outplayed for the most part. Ellis and Curry combined for 43 points (though it came on 16-39 shooting), eight assists and a remarkable nine steals (seven by Ellis).

For the Jazz, Deron Williams had one of those mixed bags games, which included brilliance and blunders. The good: 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting. The not-so-good: eight turnovers, only six assists, 1-for-4 shooting from 3-point territory.

His postgame comments were a mixture of frustration and determination. He revealed that the Jazz need to have patience and persistence while trying to continue to jell. And he also pointed out that he needs to pick up his game, and his team’s performance will follow.

And Raja Bell had a rough return to Oracle Arena, site of his one-game career with Golden State last season. He missed seven of 10 shots, had three turnovers and fouled out. He did draw three offensive fouls against the Warriors, though.

Categories: General

About the Author

Jody Genessy

Jody Genessy is the Utah Jazz beat writer for the Deseret News. To answer some of your questions: 1) Yes, he travels everywhere the Jazz do. 2) No, he doesn't fly on the team charter. 3) No, he can't sneak you into the game, let you take notes for him or get you tickets (sorry, Mom). 4) Yes, he realizes that other people out there have to work for a living so he's a lucky dude. 5) Yes, he usually answers questions in the third person.

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