In a scheduling coincidence, the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors come into Monday night’s matchup in Salt Lake City after playing a common opponent.
For what it’s worth, the Warriors fared much better than the Jazz in their recent game against the Phoenix Suns.
The biggest difference? Golden State has Stephen Curry.
The future Hall of Famer added yet another dazzling highlight to his career portfolio on Saturday night when he drained a last-second, game-winning 3-pointer to lift host Golden State to a 113-112 win over Phoenix.
Devin Booker had just given the Suns a 112-110 lead by hitting a turnaround jumper with 35.6 seconds remaining.
“We were due,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose team is 17-18 in an NBA-high 35 clutch games this season. “We were due for one of these tight games to go our way. But the guys earned it. It didn’t just happen.”
Brandin Podziemski found Curry on the inbounds pass with 3.3 seconds left. Curry gathered the ball from 33 feet out, spun around and heaved up his 10th career game-winner with five seconds or less remaining.
“I just tried to get it to him,” Podziemski said. “No matter how long it took.”
Curry, who hit nine 3-pointers en route to 30 points, said the tough shot was “just muscle memory.”
“You live with it,” Curry added. “Thankfully, it worked out.”
The Jazz weren’t fortunate enough to be within a last shot in their most recent game, a 129-115 loss to the host Suns on Thursday.
Phoenix used a 13-0 run in the third quarter to blow the game open. The Suns led comfortably the rest of the way.
After pulling within three in the third, the Jazz found themselves trailing by 19 later in the period.
“(We) cut it to three and then after that, we just had some possessions where we took a few bad shots, a couple of turnovers and it allowed them to play against an unset defense,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “It was another night where, in those moments, we never got a break with them just missing one. They did a great job of capitalizing on those moments.”
It was the Jazz’s first game after trading Simone Fontecchio, Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji prior to Thursday’s trade deadline.
Taylor Hendricks and Talen Horton-Tucker saw expanded roles off the bench against the Suns, with Hendricks posting three points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes and Horton-Tucker going for seven points in 14 minutes.
“I have no doubt that every guy in that locker room is bought into what we are doing. … They’ve been that way the entire year,” Hardy said. “But when roles change and lineups change, there is a natural kind of awkwardness. … We have to try and find the right balance with some different things going on.”
Monday marks the first meeting of the season between the teams. They will meet in Salt Lake City again on Thursday before facing each other twice in San Francisco in April.