Highlights: Jazz 101, Warriors 78
Six Jazz players scored in double figures against the Warriors. (USATSI)
Warriors coach Mark Jackson made no excuses, and neither did power forward David Lee.
Reality, however, told a reasonable tale of truth about the events of Tuesday night.
Though the Warriors started well, taking an 8-point lead in the first quarter, fatigue soon climbed aboard and never left, its effects resulting in a 101-78 loss to a scrappy Utah squad.
[RECAP: Jazz 101, Warriors 78]
"We didn’t play good basketball," Jackson said afterward. "They outworked us."
There was on this particular night a logical explanation for that. The Warriors boarded a jet to Salt Lake City late Monday night, shortly after their preseason win over Sacramento at Oracle Arena. It’s fair to consider that back-to-back games -- and three in four nights -- left the Warriors at a disadvantage against a Jazz team playing its preseason opener in the confines of EnergySolutions Arena.
"We will have plenty of three games in four nights during the regular season against top teams in the league," said Lee, who missed seven of his 10 shots. "We have to find a way to go on the road and get wins like we did last year."
That will be easier to do if the regulars are healthy, which was not the case Tuesday. Both forward Harrison Barnes (inflamed left foot) and backup center Jermaine O’Neal (lower back spasms) stayed behind in the Bay Area.
The Warriors shot only 32.6 percent and they were outrebounded 62-41. Yet those numbers should not convey alarm, nor should Stephen Curry’s 4-of-14 shooting from the floor. Such statistics are reflective of a team two weeks into training camp, pushing heavy legs in Utah’s relatively thin air, against a Jazz team eager to face anybody besides each other.
The Good: Backup big man Marreese Speights finished with 13 points and six rebounds, continuing to impress with his physicality and hustle. Center Andrew Bogut had enough energy to grab 10 boards in 23 minutes. Curry, who committed five turnovers on Monday, played 21 minutes without a giveaway.
The Bad: Health concerns are starting to form like storm clouds. Barnes’ foot is not expected to linger, but feet often defy anticipated recovery. O’Neal’s back is an issue because back woes can be famously stubborn, and particularly because he ideally would be sharing minutes with Bogut.
The Ugly: Andre Iguodala’s free throws continue their mysterious inconsistency; the 6-foot-6 wing missed four of six foul shots. At one time a reliable shooter from the line, the 10th-year veteran’s numbers have declined in recent years, hitting a career-worst 57 percent in 2012-13. This bears watching.
The Future: The Warriors won’t face another team for almost a full week, as they prepare to leave Friday for a trip to China, where on Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 they play preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers.