Turnovers were a glaring issue for the Jazz in the loss to Warriors
Utah fell to Golden State 131-119, in the first of a five-game road trip. There were a lot of things that contributed to the Jazz’s lackluster performance on Sunday, but especially turnovers.
The Utah Jazz didn’t play great against the Houston Rockets at home on Friday, but they came away with the win. On Sunday they played worse in San Francisco and weren’t quite as lucky as before, falling to the Golden State Warriors, 131-119, in the first of a five-game road trip.
“It’s hard when you turn the ball over. We had 14, but some of them are pivotal. Some of the big moments and certain stretches they get compounded. When they’re hitting tough shots or just hitting shots and then you get a turnover, that makes it feel like it’s worse than it is and then it affects different things.” — Donovan Mitchell
There were a lot of things that contributed to the Jazz’s lackluster performance on Sunday, but let’s focus on just one area: turnovers.
The Jazz coughed up 20 turnovers against the Rockets on Friday, but the Jazz had the upper hand throughout that game and had to do just enough to maintain their lead til the final buzzer. That wasn’t the case against Golden State.
Two quick turnovers from Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic in the first two and a half minutes of play gave the Warriors confidence and an early lead. And, although a box score will say that the Warriors scored 19 fast break points, that doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. The Warriors scored on possessions after turnovers even if not directly after.
On a Joe Ingles turnover mid way through the first quarter, the Jazz were able to get back and get set on defense so, no fastbreak point scored on the miscue. But the Warriors still scored late in the shot clock on that possession.
The Jazz only had 14 turnovers on Sunday, though as Mitchell pointed out after the game, it’s not just the number of turnovers that matters, but also the timing of them.
“It’s hard when you turn the ball over,” he said. “We had 14, but some of them are pivotal. Some of the big moments and certain stretches they get compounded. When they’re hitting tough shots or just hitting shots and then you get a turnover, that makes it feel like it’s worse than it is and then it affects different things.”
The Warriors led by as many as 15 points against the Jazz and multiple times the Jazz would cut the lead to a manageable number and have a chance to tie the game but then give the ball up. In the clip below, midway through the third quarter, the Warriors are leading by just three points, but a Bogdanovic turnover gives the Warriors a free ride on the other end and they extend their lead once again without resistance.
The other part to this whole turnover saga is the way in which the turnovers are committed.
There are definitely some instances where you can live with a turnover or not look back on it and be too disappointed. It’s the live-ball turnovers that were a direct result of the Warriors playing their game plan to a T and the Jazz not trying to correct things that were so egregious on Sunday.
“A team like Utah — where they’re so used to their patterns and their spacing and getting the ball moving — we wanted to set the tone early just to try and take them out of those sets, make them work, make them go one-on-one, and take those challenges on,” Stephen Curry said.
That’s exactly what the Warriors did. They forced the Jazz into isolation plays or baited them into dribbling more than they normally would and then took advantage of the situation when the Jazz weren’t swinging the ball around.
As I said before, there are a lot of reasons the Jazz didn’t win this game and it just so happened that they were making their offensive and defensive mistakes on a day when the Warriors were playing at their best.
The Golden State bench, which has struggled to produce as of late, had a monster game with big games from Jordan Poole and James Wiseman. Meanwhile, Curry, on his 33rd birthday scored 32 points and went 6-of-9 from the 3-point line, and Draymond Green notched his 26th career triple-double.
“We’ve got to protect the rim and Steph can’t get nine three,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Our execution was such that we didn’t take enough things away. They obviously capitalized on that, but we’ve got to be more focused on what we want to do from an execution standpoint, and make it happen out on the court.”
No matter the team or the situation the Jazz are going to have to clean some things up, and cutting down on the bad passes and live-ball turnovers would really go a long way in getting them back to looking like the cohesive unit that was on a tear through the first half of the season.