The road to 50 wins finally hit its destination on Monday night—in Oakland of all places—as the Utah Jazz took down the Golden State Warriors 105-99.
Up next is the regular season finale at home against the Spurs, followed by the opening round of the NBA Playoffs against the LA Clippers.
The Jazz (50-31) reached the 50-win mark for the 15th time in franchise history, and the first time since the 2009-10 season. They’ve also clinched the Northwest Division title and a top-five playoff seed after missing the postseason in each of the past five years.
George Hill led the Jazz with 20 points, while Rudy Gobert finished with 17 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks.
Shelvin Mack scored 16 points off the bench, and Joe Johnson scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help Utah snap Golden State’s 14-game winning streak.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 28 points (in 30 minutes) for the Warriors (66-15). Kevin Durant added 16 points in the loss.
The Jazz played without Gordon Hayward (quad), Rodney Hood (knee) and Derrick Favors (knee), while the Warriors were missing Klay Thompson (rest).
Hill returned to the lineup after missing the past six games and showed absolutely no signs of rust, shooting 7-for-9 from the field (including 5-for-7 from 3-point range) for 20 points. He added five assists and two steals in 19 minutes (he did not play in the fourth quarter).
Utah got off to a strong start, jumping out to an early six-point lead and then trading buckets with the Warriors. Hill scored four baskets, including two 3-pointers, in the first quarter. Joe Ingles added a three and Danté Exum threw down a left-handed dunk in the lane, while Gobert provided the defense with a big block. The game would stay close throughout, with the Jazz leading by as many as 10 and never trailing by more than six.
The Jazz scored on four straight possessions to close the game, including a 7-0 run that pushed their lead to nine with 55 seconds left in regulation. Diaw assisted on two straight buckets—an alley-oop slam by Gobert and a 3-pointer from the wing by Johnson—and then converted a layup in traffic. Johnson closed Utah’s scoring with a mid-range jumper that hit nothing but net.
The Warriors are renowned 3-point bombers, but tonight the Jazz put on a long-distance clinic. Utah made 13 threes (compared to nine by Golden State) and shot 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. Hill and Johnson led the way with five 3-pointers each, while Ingles, Exum and Mack drained one three apiece.
Utah grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and scored 13 second-chance points (compared to only six by the Warriors).
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“I’m not as big on 50 wins. I’m big on us improving, and I’m glad we’re in the playoffs. It’s a round number. It’s divisible by 10. Whether it’s 49 or 48, it doesn’t need to be 50 to represent what our players have done this year fighting through a lot of adversity. If it were 46, I’d still be really proud of these guys.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
The Jazz are in fifth place in the Western Conference standings. They’re tied with the Clippers, but LA has the tiebreaker advantage. … Gobert now has 58 double-doubles this season (No. 4 in the NBA). … Utah has used 23 different starting lineups this season. … The Jazz had lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Warriors. … Utah out-rebounded (49-42) and out-assisted (29-25) Golden State.
The Jazz will return home for their regular season finale against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on ROOT SPORTS.