The Golden State Warriors win the playoff spot with high-stakes victory over the Utah Jazz

SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors have been bored with how much they have seen the Western Conference position. Some have admitted to having monitored them. Others have said they are an afterthought.

But on the way into Saturday’s game against the Utah Jazz, there was not a single person in the Golden States locker room who was unaware of the game’s implications.

A win would allow the Warriors to sit in third place with a one-game advantage over the Dallas Mavericks. It would also give them tiebreaks against the Jazz and ensure they would have a top-five ranking in the West if the two had the same record at the end of the regular season.

“Oh yeah, [we were] knowing, “Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.” We did not talk much about it as a team, but the boys know it. … I told the coaching staff, and Steph [Curry] said it to a couple of the guys. “

The Warriors beat the Jazz 111-107, got a spot in the playoffs and lined up nicely to potentially achieve home advantage in the first round of the postseason. It was just their second win in the last nine games.

When they came after their loss to the Phoenix Suns two nights before, the Warriors felt they finally had something positive to build on. Against the Suns, their defense – which was once number 1 in the league – reappeared, and in the attack they looked cohesive and cohesive. The problem was that they could not close.

Against the Jazz it was about how they closed.

After the Warriors trimmed the Jazz’s lead to single digits in the final minutes of the third quarter, Utah made a rapid rise early in the fourth to go up 16. With 6:58 left, Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer and the Jazz is called timeout.

That was when the game changed, triggered by a Draymond Green pep talk.

“He just brought a lot of energy. Gives the guys motivation and picks us up, especially in a pressured moment like that,” Jordan Poole said. “What he says projects for the whole team. We were able to just run on that momentum.”

When he came out of the timeout, Andrew Wiggins made a 28-foot pull-up jumper. Thirty seconds later, Thompson hit a 3. The next possession he hit another. The Warriors went from down by 16 to just four down in 80 seconds and went on an 18-0 run to take their first lead of the match.

“What an achievement,” Kerr said. “I was amazed at the skill of Klays and Jordan. The emotions and passion of Draymond and the methodical defense and energy of Andrew and Otto [Porter Jr.] An incredible achievement down the stretch of our guys. “

Poole finished with 31 points, his 16th straight game with at least 20 points, while Thompson led the Warriors with 36.

In Thompson’s case, it was a breakthrough night after he had struggled in the last many fights. The Warriors chalk up his latest misery to him, forcing his shot and trying too hard to find a rhythm.

“We’ve seen it a million times: if Klay just sees the ball go through the hoop a few times, he can make the bad ones too,” Kerr said. “I did not think this was a dramatic improvement in terms of shot selection, but I think the fact that that midrange shot was there … it allowed him to get into a rhythm, and so he started to make the impossible. “

Thompson added: “I know I can just turn a switch like that. I knew this year would have its ups and downs and I just said to myself yesterday that it’s one match and I “I’m going to tell Kenny Atkinson I wanted to have a great night tonight and it turned out to be something. I’m glad it did.”

The Warriors’ offensive show in the fourth quarter was only helped by the fact that Utah continued to defend in a drop coverage, with Rudy Gobert staying in the paint no matter what, giving the Warriors a wide open look.

But unlike in other games where the Warriors missed the open shots, they hit them this time. Instead of being flawed, they executed.

Poole said that at this point in the season, every game is important. But there was no denying that everyone in the Warriors’ locker room knew this one had an added benefit, and they would not let it slip away.

That was what Green told the team during the timeout midway through the fourth, and what led the Warriors to their late battle rise.

“It was a crucial part of the game,” Poole said. “This was the moment we needed to win the match.”

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