GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (28-19)
at UTAH JAZZ (16-29)
Tip-off: Friday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -5, Total: 200.5
The Warriors play back-to-back games on Friday night when they visit a well-rested Jazz team trying to bring their winning streak to three.
Golden State has been struggling slightly in the past five games, going 2-3 SU, but is coming off a big 111-92 win at home against the Clippers on Thursday night. They dominated the game from start to finish, and hit a tremendous 49.5% of their shots while holding the Clippers, the second-best offense in the NBA, to 40.8% FG. While Utah has been poor for most of the season, the team has clawed its way out of last place in the Western Conference and now has a better record than both the Lakers and Kings. The Jazz have won four of their past seven games SU (4-3 ATS) and extended their win streak to two games by beating Sacramento 106-99 in their most recent contest on Monday night. They shot only 40.0% from the field that night, but outrebounded the Kings by 11 and committed only eight turnovers. The Warriors are 14-11 (both SU and ATS) on the road this season, including 8-2 SU over their past 10 road games, while the Jazz are 10-12 (SU and ATS) when playing in Utah this season. These two teams squared off twice over a three-day period back in mid-November with the Warriors winning both games SU, but failing to cover the large 16-point spread at home in the first meeting. Both teams shot below 41.0% from the field in the last game they played, with Golden State eventually coming away with a 98-87 victory in Utah while shooting 12-for-22 (55%) from three-point range. The Warriors are 4-1 ATS when playing in Utah over the past three seasons. Mark Jackson has gone 55-38 ATS (59%) when the total is 200 to 209.5 as the head coach of Golden State, while the Jazz have put money in bettor’s pockets in home games after failing to cover three of their past four games ATS, going 93-58 ATS (62%) in that situation since 1996. As far as injuries go, the Warriors do not have any major concerns, while C Derrick Favors (hip), PG Trey Burke (illness) and SF Richard Jefferson (illness) are considered questionable for Friday, but are all looking like they have a good chance to play.
Can the Warriors take care of a Jazz team growing in confidence? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 61% ATS (27-17) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (37-31) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 57% ATS mark (24-18-1) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is currently 52% ATS (35-32-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 55% ATS (18-15) in Best Bets since Dec. 16.
Golden State has relied heavily on its long-range shooting this season to provide much of its offense, which sometimes leads to inconsistencies. Thus far, the team is averaging 103.7 PPG on offense (11th in NBA) while making the league's second-most three-pointers (9.4 per game) and shooting 38.3% from long range (T-2nd in NBA). The Warriors have held their opponents to 99.2 PPG (11th in league) so far this season, but have trouble with turnovers (16.1 per game, 2nd worst in NBA) which leads to easy baskets for the opposition. In the win over the Clippers on Thursday night, PG Stephen Curry (24.0 PPG, 9.1 APG, 1.9 SPG) made 8-of-10 shots, including 4-for-4 from behind the arc, en route to a 22-point, 7-assists night. His 18.5 PPG (40% FG), 9.5 RPG and 2.5 SPG have been a big reason why Golden State has taken the first two games of the series against Utah. In Curry's 12 career games in this series, he has averaged 19.7 PPG (44% FG) and 6.9 APG. PF David Lee (19.1 PPG, 9.8 RPG) had his third double-double in the past five games Thursday night (22 points, 11 rebounds) which brings his season total to 25 double-doubles (9th in the NBA). He has netted 14.6 PPG (51% FG) and grabbed 9.4 RPG over 23 career games against the Jazz, and helped in the two games this season with 13.5 PPG (47% FG) and 9.5 RPG. SG Klay Thompson (18.8 PPG, 41% threes) has made 140 threes while attempting 341, the second most in the NBA this season, sitting behind only his teammate Curry in both categories. Thompson made 8-of-15 threes against Utah over two games this season while dropping 21.0 PPG (48% FG) against them. He has played only nine career games in this matchup, averaging 15.1 PPG (47% FG) and making 18-of-37 three-pointers (49%).
The Jazz are a young team and seem to be getting better as the year goes by on both sides of the ball. Their 95.0 PPG (26th in NBA) is certainly not great, but they have been improving with 97.8 PPG over the past five contests, including 105.0 PPG over their past two. The defense has allowed 101.1 PPG to their opponents this season (15th in NBA) but has limited teams to 43% shooting over their past five games. SG Gordon Hayward (17.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG) has emerged as the leader of this team and is averaging 18.3 PPG since returning from a five-game absence due to strained left hip flexor. He had 16.0 PPG (42% FG), 4.0 RPG and 2.0 SPG in the two losses to the Warriors this season, and has scored only 11.1 PPG (43% FG) over his 13 career games against them. Another rising star, C Derrick Favors (13.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.3 BPG), has had a double-double in each of his past two games while scoring 13.5 PPG (52% FG) and grabbing 7.0 RPG in the two games versus this opponent earlier in the season. In his 10 career games against Golden State, Favors has averaged 10.4 PPG (44% FG), 7.4 RPG and 1.1 BPG. PG Trey Burke (13.3 PPG, 5.7 APG) has been wildly inconsistent in his rookie season, but has the potential to put up big point totals when he is on. He is important to the team’s success as he scored 16.0 PPG (43% FG) in their wins compared to just 11.1 PPG (35% FG) in the Jazz’s losses. He has not faced the Warriors yet in his career.