Undermanned Warriors drop close one in Utah in wild fashion

Madeline Kenney, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

SALT LAKE CITY — The Warriors’ road woes continued Wednesday after the Utah Jazz pulled off a wild finish to beat the reigning champions 124-123.

The Warriors overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to pull ahead by four points with 13 seconds remaining in the game. Everything that could’ve gone wrong did for the Warriors.

Jazz guard Malik Beasley hit a 3 to pull within one of the Warriors. Then, Jordan Poole turned the ball over, and Simone Fontecchio broke away for a go-ahead layup to secure the win with a second left.

Nevermind just moments earlier that it seemed like the Warriors extinguished all momentum of the Jazz when the game got heated as the undermanned Warriors, playing without Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, who remained in the Bay Area for the one-game road trip to nurse injuries.

Jonathan Kuminga dunk with 35.9 seconds left in regulation gave the Warriors a two-point edge. He then blocked Jordan Clarkson’s shot about 10 seconds later and snatched the ball. An irritated Clarkson fouled Kumigna by grabbing the Warriors wing from behind. The two then started shoving one another before teammates pulled them apart.

At one point, though, Clarkson appeared to square up to Kuminga, who laughed in the Jazz guard’s face.

Clarkson was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game. Kuminga made one of the two freebies to put the Warriors up by three with 24 seconds left.


The Jazz stripped the ball from Klay Thompson after the inbound, but Thompson ran and blocked forward Simone Fontecchio’s shot. Poole split a pair of free throws to up the Warriors’ lead to four. That missed free throw came back to haunt the Warriors.

Poole led the team with 36 points. Kuminga finished with a season-high 36 points on an efficient 10 of 13 shooting. Klay Thompson added 22.

Stephen Curry (left ankle soreness), Draymond Green (left hip tightness) and Andrew Wiggins (right adductor strain) remained back in the Bay Area to rehab their injuries. Coach Steve Kerr was optimistic Curry and Green would bounce back and be available for Saturday’s game. Meanwhile, Wiggins will be shelved until Monday when he’ll be reevaluated.

With the Warriors undermanned, the team on Tuesday recalled James Wiseman from the G League, where he’s been developing for the last three weeks. He played five solid second quarter minutes, where he scored three points and snatched two rebounds.

The Warriors took a 3-point advantage heading into halftime but crumbled in the third quarter, during which the Jazz outscored the Warriors 34-22. Golden State sorely missed ace defenders Green and Wiggins.

The Warriors fall to 2-11 on the road. They return home to host the Boston Celtics in a 2022 NBA Finals rematch Saturday at Chase Center before hitting the road for a six-games-in-nine-days trip.

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