|Time||9 p.m. ET|
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Stephen Curry and the Warriors begin 2022 with a short trip to Utah to take on the Jazz on Saturday night.
Golden State has been one of the best teams in the NBA this season, entering this matchup with an overall record of 27-7 and having won six of their last eight games. However, Utah is not far behind. The Jazz are third in the Western Conference, trailing the Warriors by 1 1/2 games and on a six-game winning streak.
The Jazz ended 2021 on quite the hot streak, but will facing the Warriors the day after playing on Friday night, as well, affect the outcome in this matchup, or will we continue to see Utah dominate?
Warriors Without Key Contributors
Golden State has not played since a Dec. 28 loss to the Nuggets, which means it will be well-rested. The Warriors’ rematch with Denver was postponed due to COVID protocols, which will likely keep both Draymond Green and Damion Lee out of their lineup on Saturday.
Even without Green and Lee, Golden State should be able to hold its own. According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Warriors have the fifth-best Offensive Rating in the league this season, scoring 111.7 points per 100 possessions. Their play recently has backed that up as well, as they have scored at least 110 points in four of their last six games.
What has really kept Golden State at the top of the league, though, has been its defense, which is only allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions this season. Green’s absence obviously affects that end of the court significantly for Golden State, so the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Andre Iguodala will have to step up.
Utah Thriving on Both Ends During Streak
Utah has been dominant all season, topping the NBA in Offensive Rating with 117 points per 100 possessions. During their six-game winning streak, the Jazz are shooting 46.8% from the floor while only attempting 87.8 shots per game, furthering proving to the rest of the league how efficient they have been during this stretch.
Utah has also proven how good it can be on the defensive end of the floor, allowing opponents to shoot just 42.7% from the floor during their six-game winning streak, according to NBA Advanced Stats. The Jazz have also held their opponent to 108 points or less in four of their last six games.
Mike Conley will be back in the lineup on Saturday after resting against Minnesota, which gives Utah some fresh legs coming into this game.
The top of the Western Conference has been a bloodbath all season, and that is likely to continue on Saturday night.
Golden State is 7-3 in its last ten games, but Utah is even better as it’s 8-2 in its last 10 and has all the momentum in the world entering today.
However, I think the back-to-back scenario that Utah is facing is likely going to have an effect in this one, giving the Warriors a golden opportunity to step up and at least keep this game.
Pick: Warriors +5.5