Utah not only wins at Golden State, but takes a 3-1 lead. I'm not buying that this is over. Not for a second. Anything can happen when one of the teams on the court is the 2007 Golden State Warriors. But for this night at least, Utah looked pretty tough. Observations:
In Game 3, Deron Williams was out for the last play of the first quarter. Andrei Kirilenko was the fill-in point guard, which is a tall order in a clock management situation like that. Utah had the ball with about seven seconds left. They ended up not only not scoring, but they also gave up a Golden State three. Tonight they also had the ball to close the first quarter, but this time Deron Williams was not in foul trouble. Utah scores, Golden State doesn't.
Every team has players that get hot shooting threes. Only Golden State and Phoenix have teams that get hot shooting threes -- and only Golden State and Phoenix have coaches who drill it into their team that they are good shooters who should shoot without hesitation. Confidence is a huge factor in shooting accuracy.
You don't need me to tell you that Paul Millsap is sent straight from basketball heaven. He has some skill and some size, sure, but mostly he has a perfect basketball motor. He just wants it like he wants oxygen. And he doesn't rush or panic when he has the ball.
I have no confidence in Gordan Giricek. I suspect he feels the same way.
Why didn't Deron Williams launch a shot inbounding with 0.3 left on the clock? Decorum? Shooting stats? All I'm saying is ... no shot = zero percent chance at points. Shot = free chance at points. Shoot the ball.
Golden State commonly drives and then kicks to the corner where someone is usually pretty open, with a defender closing fast. That guy often kicks back along the perimeter to someone who is WIDE open for the three. However Utah's (and every team's) defensive rotations are working, it's clearly really tough to get to that guy with Golden State's fast ball movement.
There were periods of this game when the Golden State crowd was not deafening. I'm not remembering that ever happening in the first round.
Remember when the NBA said they wouldn't tolerate complaining after calls? Is that policy still in place?
That referee bias study did find predominantly black crews were slightly more likely to call fouls against white players. Utah has got to be one of the whitest teams in the league, and tonight the referee crew is 2/3 black. At the rate the research identified that trend, I suspect it would have have zero effect on such a small sample size as one game. But still, if ever you hoped to see that study in action, this series could be your opportunity.
Giricek essentially melted.
Jazz junkyard dogs: Boozer, Harpring, Fisher, and Millsap.
Mehmet Okur, on defense, is not great at meeting the penetrator. He does the whole "but I'm just standing here!" thing, which is too passive for the playoffs. You have to draw the charge or stop the shot.
Holding a lead on Golden State is like holding a lid on a boiling pot.
Weird deal by Baron Davis nailing Derek Fisher. Then Jason Richardson nailed Okur. You see Derek Fisher playing ambassador after that event? Does anyone in the league have more poise?