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'Super teams' are something to see, regardless if you like them or not

SALT LAKE CITY — These are hard times for fans that believe in making do with what they have, who are OK with things as they are. But they shouldn’t be surprised the Golden State Warriors are again making quick work of their schedule.

Nor should they be upset.

People would do better to just appreciate the view.

On Thursday it was a 106-99 Warriors win over the Jazz. It was a respectable effort by an injury-decimated Utah. But the Warriors got enough push early to overcome poor late free-throw shooting.

So the Jazz got their first chance of the season to gauge themselves (OK, their subs) against the best. By adding Kevin Durant in the offseason, the Warriors brought arguably the league’s second-best player to a lineup that already had two of the best.

This is now a team whose third-best player — Klay Thompson — scored 60 points in three quarters. The only worry going into the season was whether Thompson and Stephen Curry would have to sacrifice some of their game to accommodate Durant.

“I don’t really like the word sacrifice because I don’t think adding a great player to your team is a sacrifice,” coach Steve Kerr told media in mid-November.

Fair point. It’s no sacrifice to have three kinds of sauce on your sundae.

“We knew exactly what we were getting,” Curry told reporters last month, “and we got it. So he’s playing as advertised.”

Many Americans feel it’s downright unsportsmanlike to assemble a team like Golden State. The Warriors have four All-Stars. Current All-Stars. That fact rattles people who love underdogs. It even hits some players wrong. Portland’s Damian Lillard has expressed disinterest in stacking the deck.

"If somebody wants to go join people and do that, it's not against the rules. They can do it,” Lillard said on Sirius XM Radio. “It's just more pressure to win when you do it. Some people say, 'Oh, they had to do that to win it' but we play the game to win it. So when people do it, that's their decision. I wouldn't do it. That's just not who I am.”

That too is a fair point. Complaining about such groupings is barking at the moon. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and others hoarded talent for decades. Super teams are only unfair if you live elsewhere. But it’s almost a certainty that once a power team is in place, out come the haters.

Kerr is no novice to this, having played with Chicago and San Antonio before becoming the Warriors coach.

When Golden State took the court for warmups, and during introductions Thursday, it was met by a mixed but vocal chorus of damning boos and boisterous cheers. When Curry landed a rapid-fire 3 to put the Warriors up 12-4, Warrior fans who showed up at Vivint Arena got vocal. Meanwhile, the Jazz crowd got riled in the closing minutes, boisterously booing both officials and opponents.

Love and hate, no middle ground.

“I don’t really think too much about it,” Kerr said beforehand. “That was definitely the case with the Bulls. With Spurs, I don’t think anybody cared about us at all outside of San Antonio. But this team, my first year, was kind of a surprise and everybody seemed to love us and — now maybe that’s changed a little bit — but it honestly makes no difference to us.”

It certainly didn’t on Thursday. The Warriors dominated the injury-decimated Jazz at the start, going ahead 29-5. They looked like another 73-win team. The Jazz made two of their first 11 shots and one of their first four free throws. They got worked on the glass in the early going, outhustled and outshot.

Though the Jazz got within five with 8:47 remaining in the game — with the lineup below half-mast — they were never in charge. Even with Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, George Hill, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks out with injuries, Kerr said he warned his team “three times” in the locker room not to lose focus.

Turned out it was a good idea. Not until did Durant make three straight free throws with 8:39 to go but they also regained momentum. Turns out, their focus was good enough ... or at least their talent. They have won 16 of their last 17 games, with just one loss since Nov. 4.

Instead of worrying about another super team buildup, Jazz (and other) fans should be taking a picture so they can tell their great-grandchildren what they saw.