By no means are the Utah Jazz anywhere close to being the favorite in their second-round playoff match-up, but if they can excel in the following key areas, they may give themselves a chance to topple the Golden State Warriors.
After a thrilling series win over the Los Angeles Clippers, the Utah Jazz are moving on to the Western Conference Semi-Finals and an incredible test against the league’s best team, the awe-inspiring Golden State Warriors. If the Jazz were considered underdogs in the first round against LA, then their chances of winning against the Warriors are even slimmer.
Although there’s no denying that the Utah Jazz have turned into an exceptional team, Golden State is simply on an otherworldly level. With four All-Stars in their starting lineup including two former MVPs and a host of solid role players throughout their roster, it’s no coincidence that the Warriors finished with the top record in the league for the third year running.
However, all season long the Jazz have been pinned as a team that could potentially give Golden State some trouble and now that the two are facing off in a playoff series, the truthfulness of that supposition will very much be put to the test.
Utah did decent against the Warriors during the regular season, but not overly amazing as they lost the first contest in a close fight, were blown out in the second, then won the third in what was essentially a meaningless contest for Golden State.
Of course in each of those the Jazz were at much less than full strength given all the injuries they logged through this year, so one positive that Utah will have going for them is that they’ll be rolling out a much more formidable team in this series, the likes of which Golden State has yet to see this year. Unfortunately, it was announced yesterday that Derrick Favors is questionable for the bout with lower back soreness, so that expected full-strength may not be completely true.
Nevertheless, the Jazz still have plenty of weapons and an enormous amount of momentum after winning their first playoff series since 2010. Therefore, although few are expecting them to provide too much of a challenge for a stacked Golden State team, Utah could very well find themselves surprising some folks, including the Warriors themselves.
Even if such is the case and the Jazz are able to compete well, the fact of the matter is that it would still take nearly a perfect game for them to have any chance of knocking off the Warriors. That kind of performance for four out of seven games may prove too much for Utah to handle, but if they are to do it, these following three keys will be the way they’ll get it done.