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Defensive woes continue as Warriors fall to Jazz, 122-108

Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

SAN FRANCISCO -- Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green hit the floor as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley fell on top of him.

When the referee assessed a blocking foul, Green made it clear he disagreed in his typical fashion. A fiery argument was met with a technical foul, and the continued berating garnered a second. Within seconds, Green was ejected from the game. Then, not even a minute later, Warriors coach Steve Kerr picked up his own technical foul for arguing an incorrectly called kick ball penalty on Jordan Poole.

Frustrations boiled over Monday as the Warriors lost their fourth-straight game, falling 122-108 to the Utah Jazz and establishing the longest losing streak of an already difficult season. Mounting injuries and a leaky defense capped off a winless weak.

Green's return from a torn ligament in his finger after a five-game absence couldn't mitigate the Warriors' defensive struggles. Starting in his first game back, Green showed noticeable signs of rust, finishing with four points on 2-for-7 shooting (0-for-4 on 3-pointers).

Though he had seven rebounds and four assists, the Warriors were outscored by a team-worst 14 points when he was on the floor.

By halftime, the Warriors gave up 69 points to a Jazz team that is scoring the third-fewest points in the league. By the end of the third quarter, they had given up 97 points, making it the sixth time in 11 games they have given up 90-plus points by the time they reached the final period.

Before the game, Green said he was impressed with what he saw from his teammates in his absence. "They seem to be understanding the defensive rotations," he said.

However, during the game, Green was visibly frustrated by a defense still several steps slow, resulting in his eventual ejection.

The Jazz had three players score 20 or more points, with Conley being a particular beneficiary of the Warriors' defense. Conley has struggled to find his shooting stroke in his first season in Utah. The 32-year-old point guard entered the game averaging 13.6 points per game on a career-low 34.8% shooting. On Monday, he finished with 22 points on 54.5% shooting.

 

Center Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 14 rebounds while guard Donovan Mitchell finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Things don't get easier for the Warriors, with a trip to Los Angeles to play the Lakers next up on the schedule. LeBron James and Anthony Davis lead a potent two-man game that gave Golden State's defense fits in the preseason.

D'Angelo Russell continued to carry the water on offense, posting 30-plus points in his fourth-straight appearance with 33 points on 13-for-25 shooting (5-for-9 from 3-point range) and eight assists.

Even with Russell's production, however, the Warriors can't seem to score enough points to win with the defense in its current state.

Green, the former Defensive Player of the Year, will have a hard time hoisting up the defense the way Russell has carried the offense. Especially if he's in the locker room instead of on the court.

(c)2019 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

Visit The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com

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