The last week of the NBA regular season begins on Monday. Teams are still looking to avoid the play-in tournament and also improve their playoff seeding wherever possible. Other teams are just playing out the string on the season. Determining motivations in the Association is a tough thing to do, especially with players sitting out left and right.
We’ll do the best we can to figure everything out for the late game on NBA TV between the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors. Utah is a road favorite of just three points in this one with a total of 226.5 at BetOnline Sportsbook. The Jazz are a strong 31-4 at home, but just 19-14 on the road, so we’ll see how they fare in Oakland.
The Jazz have righted the ship at the right time. They had struggled a little bit over the last couple of weeks before stringing together this current five-game winning streak. There was some natural regression to the mean for the Jazz, but a lot of it simply had to do with the absence of Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell remains sidelined, but Utah has made some adjustments to life without their leading scorer.
Mitchell has scored over 26 points per game and is also second on the team in assists to Mike Conley. Conley has also missed time recently and is questionable for this one, so the Jazz have had to find different facilitators for the offense. Recently, Joe Ingles has stepped up to lead the team in assists in six straight games and six of the last seven. Rudy Gobert has continued his assault on the glass and Bojan Bogdanovic has been filling up the stat sheet.
Bogdanovic has scored just shy of 17 points per game, but with increased usage and minutes without Mitchell and others, he’s scored at least 20 points in seven straight games, including a 48-point outburst against the Nuggets last Friday. He was 8-of-11 from three-point range in that one and the deep ball has been a primary weapon for the Jazz all season long.
The Jazz are shooting a three on 49% of their field goal attempts and are third in the NBA at 39.1% in terms of making them. For good measure, they’re a top-10 offense in 2P% as well. Utah has the best NetRtg in the NBA at +9.5, a full three points better than any other team. The Jazz actually have the lowest TOV% in the NBA, but opponents are only shooting 44.7% against them. Only the Knicks fare better in that area.
Utah is second in 3P% defense and first in 2P% defense. This is a very complete team as the playoffs roll around.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors look to be making the playoffs for the first, and hopefully only, play-in tournament. Golden State sits 15 games behind the Jazz in the #8 seed spot. Steph Curry is the reason why, but it is interesting to note that Golden State does have a winning record. Usually we see #8 seeds in the NBA Playoffs with losing records, but at least they’ve done well enough to be on the plus side in that department.
Golden State is basically a one-man show. Curry has scored nearly 32 points per game in just 34 minutes per contest this season. He’s also second in assists behind Draymond Green, who can’t score anymore, but has still averaged nearly nine dimes per night. Curry dropped 49 on the Thunder in a blowout 136-97 win on Saturday. He did that in just 29 minutes on the floor. That was on the heels of scoring 34 in 31 minutes against OKC two nights prior.
Curry scored 37.3 points per game in April and has 38.2 points per game so far through five games in May. He’s shooting over 46% on threes over his last 20 games. Not too shabby. It would be great if he could get a little help, but it comes and goes. Andrew Wiggins has scored over 18 points per game this season and seems to be getting back on track at the right time after struggling to shoot last month.
Golden State is fourth in 2P% against this season, so they’ve been solid in that department. They’re also in the top 10 in 3P% against. The teams have split their first two meetings this season. Utah won the first game 127-108 and Golden State won the second game 131-119. Not surprisingly, Utah won big at home and lost big on the road.
Jazz vs. Warriors Free Pick
The Warriors have defended their home court well this season. They’ve got the fourth-most home wins in the Western Conference. Not bad for a team that sits eighth in the standings. Their dependence on the three-ball is probably part of it and the normal sightlines and friendly conditions sure help. I don’t think Utah blows out the Warriors here. The Jazz are playing well, but Golden State has some incentive and Steph is rolling.
Pick: Golden State Warriors +3