The Warriors have spent the better part of this year proclaiming their culture is changed and they deserve mention among the league's good teams. In many ways, they've proven that to be true.

But their 97-90 loss to Utah showed they perhaps aren't as far along as they thought. They had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win. At home. Against a bad road team. And they couldn't do it.

The merely postponed what seems inevitable. The Warriors will make the playoffs. But it underscores a growing concern as Golden State prepares for the postseason: they may not be ready for playoff basketball.

"I think if you look at it, they played a little harder," Stephen Curry said. "And that's not when we're going to be successful -- when a team plays harder than us."

When Utah really needed a basket, it got one. Whether it was Mo Williams creating shots, Al Jefferson going to work inside or the Jazz executing their offense and using crisp ball movement to create open shots.

The same couldn't be said for the Warriors, who managed just 42 points in the second half.

Multiple scoring droughts prevented the Warriors from gaining any serious momentum. They went five-and-a-half minutes in the second quarter without a field goal, totaling 3 points from the line.

In the third quarter, after cutting the lead to 65-64, Golden State squandered a chance to take control of the game by failing to score on six straight possessions, allowing Utah to take control back with an 8-0 run.


Advertisement

A night of scoring droughts was capped by the Warriors scoring just two points over the last 2:34.

With 14.3 seconds left, Mo Williams drilled a dagger 3, giving him a game-high 25 points and postponing the Warriors' celebration.

"I've been waiting eight years for a night like tonight, to have a chance to clinch and make the playoffs," David Lee said. "It's going to happen another night. We're going to keep our heads up. But it was disappointing to lose this one."

  • Curry took five shots in the fourth quarter of a game the Warriors really wanted to get. Five shots ... after making 6 of his first 8.

    Of those five shots, two came in the final seconds, heaves after the game was decided. So, really, he took 3 shots in the first 11 minutes, 52 seconds of the fourth quarter.

    The first one came at the 10:40 mark. The next one came at 3:28. The next at 1:51.

    "We went away from him a little bit," coach Mark Jackson said. "Klay (Thompson) and David (Lee) got it going. Give credit to their defense, they put bigger bodies on him. At the end of the day, he cooled down a little bit and their defense stepped up. They made the adjustment and they started trapping trying to get the ball out of his hands."

    That's on Curry.

    Jackson moved Curry off the ball most of the second half and practically all of the second quarter. It's been the pattern all year.

    When Curry is off the ball, it is harder for him to get a shot. He has to do more work and it's easier for teams to deny him since the Warriors' plan for getting him the ball is simple and widely known.

    Often, if the first option isn't there, Jarrett Jack goes to open No. 2. If that's not there, he's shooting. Or Curry will get it and after all that work he all but has to shoot it.

    Some games, he does well. He makes shots and it looks great. But it hasn't been consistently successful and it proves even tougher against good defenses.

    It's on Curry because he's probably the only one who can do something about it. He's such a nice guy that he is going to do what his coach says and he's going to bust his butt doing it. But what the Warriors really need is for him to be a little Russell Westbrook about it. He either needs to tell Jackson to give him the ball or just go get it despite what the coach says.

    Sounds disrespectful. But Jackson's the type of guy that if Curry came to him and said "gimmie the ball," he'll respect the boldness enough to do it.