Jazz Look For Eight Straight Win Against Warriors
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are in the midst of their league-best seven-game winning streak. The team is hoping to make it eight straight when they face the surging Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
The Jazz are the NBA’s hottest team and are tied for the second-best record in the NBA, sitting just one half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers atop the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have found their footing of late after a painfully slow start to the season.
Mitchell’s Superstar Streak
After Thursday night’s now-infamous meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will look to extend his recent trend of superstar-level play.
Mitchell was challenged by the NBA on TNT cast for not doing more to help the Jazz win games despite averaging 27.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting an impressive 51 percent from the floor, 52 percent from three, and 91 percent from the free-throw line during the team’s win streak.
The Jazz guard responded to the criticism from Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith after the win by saying he was more focused on the Jazz success as a whole.
“I hate to take a win like this and make it about what they said about me,” Mitchell said. “Look at how we played, look at how we guarded. I’m happy.”
The Jazz got 20 points from Mike Conley in the win, and an additional 19 points from reserve guard Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson is the NBA’s leading scorer off the bench this season, leading to calls from his Jazz teammates to name him the frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year.
“For sure, JC is the sixth man of the year,” Conley said. “I don’t think anybody else is playing better than he has.”
Warriors Sudden Surge
The Warriors opened the season by losing their first two games in spectacular fashion. Golden State fell to the Brooklyn Nets in their season opener by 26 and followed it up the next night with a 39 point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, the Warriors have since gone 8-5 over their last 13 games and now find themselves in the thick of the Western Conference playoff standings.
The team is led by former two-time MVP Steph Curry who returned to the roster after missing most of last season nursing injuries.
The guard is the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer at 28.2 points per game while shooting an impressive 45 percent from the floor and 37 percent from the three-point line.
Often maligned former number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins has also found stability in his second season with the Warriors. The forward is averaging 17.7 points per game for Golden State while shooting a career-high 39 percent from the three-point line.
The Warriors are coming off a disappointing loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday 119-104.
Forward Draymond Green was mistakenly ejected from the game late in the first half after yelling at rookie teammate James Wiseman. Game officials believed Green was directing his anger towards them and handed the versatile big man his second technical foul.
On Friday, the league rescinded the foul.
The key matchup between the Warriors and Jazz will pit centers Rudy Gobert and Wiseman against one another.
Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and an All-NBA center while Wiseman is a talented but raw rookie, selected with the second selection in the 2020 NBA draft.
The Jazz center is averaging 12.2 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Jazz in little over 30 minutes per game. Wiseman meanwhile is averaging 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Warriors in his debut season.
The Golden State big man is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 37 percent from the three-point line on 1.1 attempts per game.
The game was originally scheduled as a matinee performance between the two teams before being pushed back to a 7 pm MST tip. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.
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