The Golden State Warriors thought a game against the Utah Jazz was the perfect opportunity to rest their veteran stars and still compete for a win. The reigning champs held out Stephen Curry (ankle), Draymond Green (hip), and Andrew Wiggins (groin) as the two teams met in Utah on Wednesday night. The Jazz had their own injury issues, with Mike Conley and Lauri Markkanen held out.
With a rare chance to take centerstage, the young Warriors showed out for most of the game. Jordan Poole popped off for 36 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 24 points off the bench, and Golden State seemed to wrestle a wild fourth quarter in their favor with just seconds remaining. All they had to do was successfully inbound the ball and make some free throws. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
The Jazz beat Golden State, 124-123, in one of the most improbable last second comebacks you will see all season. Utah stole the inbounds pass by doubling Poole, scooped up the ball and threw it downcourt to Italian rookie Simone Fontecchio for the game-winner just before the buzzer. Watch the entire sequence here:
The Warriors trailed by nine points to start the fourth quarter, but locked down on defense and made enough shots to get back in the game. This would have been a really great win to pick up while Curry, Green, and Wiggins rested, but somehow they grabbed defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t know what hit him:
Steve Kerr: “In my experience, there’s one game like this every year where you leave the building saying, ‘What just happened?'”
— Madeline Kenney (@madkenney) December 8, 2022
The fourth quarter was heated the entire way through before the ridiculous ending. The final 30 seconds featured a flagrant foul called on Jordan Clarkson after he got into it with Jonathan Kuminga.
Fontecchio, a 26-year-old rookie, was outstanding for Utah in the victory, scoring 18 points capped by the game-winner. Jordan Clarkson (22 points, nine assists), Malik Beasley (18 points), and Collin Sexton (17 points) helped pace the Jazz offense all night.
The Jazz improved to 15-12, and the Warriors fell to 13-13. You could have made some huge money betting that Utah would have a better record than the Warriors at this point in the season. Golden State will probably be fine eventually …but a loss like this is going to sting when they’re jockeying for playoff position at the end of the season.