The Golden State Warriors (48-29) pounded the Utah Jazz (24-53) 130-102 on Sunday night, lowering their magic number to clinch a playoff berth down to three. The Warriors are looking to reach the playoffs for a second straight season, a franchise rarity.
In what was a lopsided game from the very start, Golden State connected on a season-high 17 three-pointers, including a combined 12 from their backcourt duo Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Thompson had a game-high 33 points, knocking down seven of his ten three-point attempts. He was simply brilliant from beyond the arc. Curry was not too far behind his backcourt mate, scoring 31 points to go along with 16 assists and connecting on five of his ten long range attempts. He is currently seventh in the league in scoring at 23.4 points per game and sixth in assists dishing out 8.4 per game.
Rookie Trey Burke had a terrific game with 24 points and 15 assists, continuing his solid first season. Third year guard Alec Burks was also solid off of the bench with 24 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Overall, the Warriors offense was just too much for the Jazz to handle. Golden State shot 57.8 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded the Jazz 45-37. Not a good combination for the young Utah squad.
Andrew Bogut returned to action for the Warriors after missing the past five games, scoring six points and grabbing eleven rebounds in just 23 minutes. A healthy return of their defensive anchor will be key to their postseason success. The combination of Bogut’s interior presence and Andre Iguodala’s perimeter ability have made the Warriors a top 10 defensive team in the league. Pair that with their deadly three-point shooting and it makes for a scary team.
Golden State is off until Thursday when they host the Denver Nuggets. With just five regular season games remaining, they only play one more playoff team when they travel to Portland to take on the Trailblazers. Portland is currently just a game and a half up on the Warriors for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. The difference is between a first round matchup with the third seeded Clippers or the fourth seeded Rockets.
The Warriors best bet would be to avoid a matchup with their in-state rivals and push for a series against the Rockets. It will not be an easy task, however, as the Trailblazers are trying to kick into full gear heading into the playoffs. Their April 13 matchup will be a huge game for both teams.
As the regular season winds down the Warriors need to regain their full strength. The return of Andrew Bogut was a big step in the right direction, but his frontcourt partner David Lee missed his sixth straight contest with a hamstring injury and rumors are swirling that he may not be close to a return. They have proven to be one of the best teams in the league with a “Full Squad” and they would surely like the be at full strength heading into the playoffs.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the Golden State Warriors