Golden State Warriors 2010: Defense Leads Warriors Past Jazz

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Golden State Warriors 2010: Defense Leads Warriors Past Jazz
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Oakland, Calif.

Warriors (4-1): 85

Jazz (2-3): 78

Monta Ellis (GS): 23 points, seven steals.

David Lee (GS): 14 points, 15 rebounds.

 

Warriors playing defense? Keith Smart must really be making an impact.

The Warriors are known for their high-flying offense. They are the second-highest scoring team in the league averaging 109 points-per-game, yet it was the Warriors defense that led them to a 85-78 win over the Jazz. 

From the get-go this game was not pretty. After the first quarter, the Warriors were 7-of-27 shooting from the floor. It didn't get any better as the game went on. The Warriors would finish 35-for-93, 37 percent from the field. But even with that said, the Warriors were able to grind out a tough win against a playoff-caliber opponent. 

The difference was rebounding. The Warriors out-rebounded Utah 52 to 46, and it led to great second-chance points in the paint. Golden State scored 46 inside the paint with David Lee and Andris Biedrins combing for 22 of those points.

The Warriors also played exceptional defense. Golden State forced 19 turnovers which created 20 fast-break points.

With five games under their belt, the Warriors are 4-1 and undefeated at home (4-0). Much of the success can be attributed to the dynamic backcourt of Ellis and Curry, but a huge factor has been the play of newcomer David Lee.

Lee gives the Warriors a versatile power forward that co-exists well with Biedrins. He's fast for a No. 4 and often leads the fast break, giving the Warriors yet another weapon in their potent offense.

But Lee also brings an edge to him. Throughout the game, he would receive the ball near the paint and back up Jazz forward Paul Millsap, giving him the option of either going to the paint or taking on the double-team and kicking it out to a open teammate on the perimeter. This helps create open shots for the backcourt, especially Curry.

The defense was by far the talk of the night, however. The Warriors held Utah to less then 80 points for the first time this year (they are averaging 106 a game). 

This is just something the Warriors are not known for, but they showed they can shut down an offense. Good pressure from the Warriors backcourt led to poor passes. The frontcourt did an excellent job closing down passing lanes and really disallowing the ball to be passed in the paint for easy points.

The Warriors will be happy with themselves as they take off for a five-game road trip. They start off in Detroit Sunday and end the road trip in Milwaukee a week from Saturday.

 

Notes

 Stephen Curry was a game-time decision, but played 33 minutes in the win. He started the game favoring his injured ankle and settled for perimeter shots, but came out and really looked good in the second half. He finished with 20 points and six assists. 

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