Get Off the Bandwagon, America (Utah 100, Golden State 87)
Well, we figured it’d happen tonight. It’s kind of strange how close the Warriors came–Golden State still had a chance to win this game, but the same thing that got them through Dallas doomed them against Utah–bad looking 3s in the final few minutes, combined with fatigued turnovers and a much fresher Jazz team, and Utah was able to pull away in the final minutes. Led by the veteran Derek Fisher (who seriously looks like the star of these playoffs now that Davis is gone), Utah will be a very difficult foe for either Phoenix or San Antonio; we expect a tough slugfest to decide the Western champion.
Massive hats off to the Golden State Warriors for a wild ride, but rebounding and 2nd chance opportunities doomed them–the inability to hustle for the loose balls cost them deeply, as Paul Millsap, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, and Mehmet Okur combined for 51 boards in the deciding game. Baron Davis finished with a 21-8-6, but Fisher hounded him on several key possessions down the stretch; on the other side, the experienced Fisher took over the ball handling reins from the struggling Deron Williams (almost a non-factor in Game 5) and guided them on the crucial plays to help pull Utah away.
We’ll write a more detailed summary of the Utah-Golden State series on your editor’s sports blog, but if you want the layman’s description, it was a bad matchup for the Warriors. The physical style of Utah inevitably wore down Golden State, forcing them to take more jumpers instead of relying more on the smooth passing to open shots that helped them take four from Dallas. There are plenty of other factors to consider, but that’s the big one. Davis’s inability to cut into the lanes late kept the Warriors from running their usual offense, and everyone suffered as a result.
So the NBA Playoffs again return to a place for basketball purists, as many of the general American sports fans return to baseball or their insatiable wait for football. Sigh. What can you do.
Jazz Close Out Warriors, Advance to Western Conference Finals [NBA]
(Image from Yahoo/AP)
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