Oakland, Calif. • It has been seven months since the Golden State Warriors swatted the Utah Jazz in the playoffs like a fly buzzing near their ear.
The Jazz have seen a huge amount of turnover since then. The Warriors, the reigning NBA champions, have not.
On Wednesday night, the teams will meet at Oracle Arena for the first time since the Warriors (27-7) swept the Jazz in May on their way to a second title in three years. This season finds Golden State again gliding atop the NBA, albeit without Steph Curry in this current stretch, but Kevin Durant capably leading the way.
What shot do the Jazz have, especially given the way they played Tuesday night in Denver? According to the Warriors themselves, they’re taking Utah seriously.
“We know this is a tough team,” Draymond Green said. “Obviously we know their playing style. It’s always been a tough game for us.”
JAZZ AT WARRIORS
When • Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. MST
TV • ATTSN
The Jazz are 2-9 in the regular season against the Warriors under Quin Snyder, the most recent win in April against a resting Golden State prepping for its title run. But those games have often been tight, particularly in Vivint Smart Home Arena.
It’s not impossible to knock off the Warriors at home, though, as Denver showed this past week in a 96-81 win. And Golden State’s stars had plenty of compliments to give to the Jazz, particularly with how they’ve played without Rudy Gobert.
“Rudy’s missed a bunch of the season — it’s made them tougher in some aspects,” Green said. “They get up and down the court more when he’s out. The floor is a little more spaced out when he’s not out there, so it makes them a little tougher to guard. So yeah, I think they’ve been quite a surprise.”
Durant said he’s watched Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell some, and he’s appreciated how the Jazz have let him play with a long leash and allowed him to make mistakes. While he said Utah is figuring itself with Mitchell at the helm, he appreciates how the team plays the game.
“They play extremely hard,” he said. “I love coach Quin and how he gets those guys to play with movement and pace. Well not as much pace, but the ball moves a lot. It’s not like they’re zooming up and down the court, but the ball moves a lot.”