Utah +13.5 at Golden State O/U 206
The Golden State Warriors won every stat comparison they could win in their Game 1 victory over Utah. The Warriors won fast break points 29-6. They won points off turnovers by a 20-4 margin. Golden State shot 49% from the floor and outscored the Jazz by ten at the free throw line, hitting 91% of their foul shots too! Golden State had 32 assists on 40 made field goals. They completely shut down Utah’s Gordon Hayward, held to just 4-of-15 shooting with only four assists and four rebounds.
And yet, when the dust cleared, it was Utah, not Golden State, who cashed winning bets for their backers thanks to a late 8-2 run in the closing minutes with all the starters for both teams sitting on the bench. That’s the danger of laying double digits in an NBA Playoff game, even with an elite team like the Warriors, very similar to their Game 1 showing against the Blazers.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder wrote one word on the chalkboard in the locker room prior to their Game 7 win at LA against the Clippers: ‘Compete’. And that’s exactly what the Jazz have done throughout this postseason, with all four of their SU losses in the playoffs coming by a dozen points or less – Utah isn’t letting games get away from them right now. They fought to the final buzzer in Game 1, notching the spread cover to show for it. I’m expecting similar energy and effort tonight.
Plus, the Jazz have multiple areas where they’re primed to improve for Game 2, most notably their transition defense. This is NOT a team that gives up fast break buckets in bunches – game 1 was an aberration in that regard. And there’s ample reason to think that Utah will get a better shooting effort out of their front line talent tonight, with Hayward, George Hill, Derrick Favors and several others primed for a bounceback effort. Look for the Jazz to ‘compete’ and hang around in this inflated pointspread range.