The Game of Matchups. Warriors/Jazz Preview


So Utah Jazz made in out of the 1st round in a fighting 7 games to the Clippers and Golden State wasn’t so happy. Not much about the matchup but more about the nightlife. Stephen Curry was asked what he’d be doing on nights at Utah and he responded “Not riding dirt bikes” But this is the NBA Playoffs. No one cares that you advance, they only care how fast you get bounced. 

We reminisce the greatest Golden State ‘We Believe’ era with a dunk from Baron Davis on Andre Kirilenko. 

So congratulations Utah on your feat. Now that that’s over; let’s get down to business. 

This is a generation of entertainment. Music, media, money, and matchups. Music is about matchups. Media is about matchups. Money is about matchups. Matchups are about matchups. But at the end of the day we enjoy it and are grateful as fans. Let’s break it down.

  • When Kendrick Lamar dropped ‘DAMN’ we all compared and contrasted it to Drake’s ‘More Life’.  

But we enjoy these matchups because that’s the most fun part about the game. 

  • ESPN is laying off over bad ratings because Media is there matchup. Social media to be exact. You don’t get anything from tv anymore. You get it from to go menus. Twitter, instagram, teams snapchats, play snapchats. Popular basketball references such as Bleacher Report, The Players Tribune, blogs such as NBALead, any fan page on Twitter and Facebook. 
  • When you have a minimum wage job and you want a new job, you’re typically going to go to one that has more money. Not another minimum wage job. 
  • When two DPOY candidates face up in the 2nd round of the playoffs than you look to see who drove their team more defensively. 

 But according to Warriors PF Draymond Green, when asked how he felt about going up against Rudy Gobert, he responded in the most Draymond way possible. 

So with that being said. Let’s check out the matchups for this intriguing round 2 series. Starting with our point guards. (Only doing matchups by poistion because I can’t do matchup by superstar because Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are a toss up for whoever you feel is the superstar).

Stephen Curry vs George Hill 

Stephen Curry (left) George Hill (right) via Getty Images

First round stats for Stephen Curry:

  • 29.7 PPG 
  • 5.4 RPG
  • 6.8 APG
  • 2 SPG

George Hill first round stats

  • 16.9 PPG
  • 3.7 APG
  • 4.1 RPG
  • 48% FGP

Everybody knows the most iconic moment of this matchup. If you don’t then let me refresh your memory. Look up ‘Stephen Curry George Hill’ on google images and what the first thing you see? Very embarrassing right?

Stephen Curry dropped George Hill with a simple in and out crossover and drew a foul; but this was back in 2013 when Hill was a Pacer. 

George Hill is one of your better defensive lead guards. Stephen Curry is the best offensive guard probably of all time. His deep range mixed with a crossover against George Hill’s length and solid frame makes is difficult for defense to shoot over him and go through him. 

So an offense vs defense matchup is always fun. Better offense always prevails over defense; especially with an elite talent like Curry. Assuming he keeps up his level of play from the end of the season that carried in the first round and hopefully the momentum keeps moving into the 2nd. 

George Hill is never shy of a challenge; especially one like Curry. George can space the floor as well. Maybe not being as elite as a Curry or an Irving per say, but he can shoot the three and effectively. So he’s not a liability on offense, he’s just a better defender. Curry will own this matchup though.

Klay Thompson vs Joe Ingles

Joe Ingles (2) Klay Thompson (11) via KUTV

Thompson 1st Round stats

  • 18.3 PPG
  • 1.3 APG
  • 2.3 RPG
  • 1 SPG

Ingles 1st Round stats

  • 6.3 PPG
  • 4 APG
  • 3.9 RPG
  • 2 SPG

Both Ingles & Thompson struggled shooting from the field as well as the 3 in the 1st round. Thompson shot on 38% FG & 39% from three; while Ingles shot 37% FG & 33% from 3. 

Thompson rested when the Warriors played the Jazz on the 10th of April. He also doesn’t typically put up big numbers against the defensive minded Jazz team only averaging 16.3 all time against the team, but this time around we are in the playoffs and if Klay wants to get to the WCF he would perform like a man possessed.

Joe Ingles is a sharpshooter but not very mobile. Not as fast as the normal SG but he’s a better fit at the position than the Alec Burk who seemed to lose himself during his stretch as the starting SG; and Ingles rose as the next man up. He isn’t a superstar like a Klay Thompson but he finds a way to contribute to on both ends. Still not as elite as Klay Thompson as a two way guards; more of just a 3&D player.

Kevin Durant vs Gordon Hayward

via YouTube

Kevin Durant 1st Round stats

  • 21 PPG
  • 2 APG
  • 7 RPG
  • 1.5 BPG

Gordon Hayward 1st Round stats

  • 23.7 PPG
  • 2.9 APG
  • 7.3 RPG
  • 0.7 SPG

This matchup is very intriguing if you like basketball, but if you like names then this is typical Kevin Durant over Gordon Hayward. Gordon Hayward is a very good SF. The Jazz run their offense thru Hayward and he delivers almost every time. He didn’t play in 2 of the 3 games against the Warriors and only scored six in the game he did play resulting in a lost. 

Leading his Jazz offense to number 5 in the Western Conference. His ability to shoot in and out, off the dribble and catch and shoot, crash the boards, and run the offense, and help defense effectively, it makes him one of the better forwards in the game. His offensive game is a reflection on his defense. Not elite but good at everything. 

Kevin Durant on the other hand is a first ballot hall of famer and a top 5 SF of all time. Durant missed 2 of the 4 games in the first round versus Portland with a calf injury but Golden State missed his 7’5 wingspan which is a very pivotal part of the Warriors defense that lead them to the best defensive efficiency in the league. His career high in blocks actually came this season with 6 vs the Timberwolves. 

He is unmatched at his size and position on the offensive end. His range mixed with his crossover and length give his an advantage to shoot over all defenders. His ability to get to the line, get to the basket with ease, ISO anybody and post up. Durant is one of a kind and a superstar. 

Hayward is great in Utah but Durant is a megastar everywhere he goes and it’s for a reason. He’ll dominate this matchup from the first game on. 

Draymond Green vs Boris Diaw 

via The Press Democrat

Draymond Green 1st Round stats

  • 13.8 PPG
  • 7.5 APG
  • 9.5 RPG
  • 4.3 BPG

Boris Diaw 1st Round stats

  • 6 PPG
  • 2.6 APG
  • 1.7 RPG
  • 0.7 SPG

This matchup goes back to Diaw’s tenure with the San Antonio Spurs. Boris Diaw is old man river walk. Passing the ball is a specialty for Diaw; as well as his ability to stretch the floor. He’s not a superstar in any right but he is a very smart PF and one of the better passers as a big man. 

Boris Diaw is not an exciting player to watch in any right but he always gets the job done and that’s why his veteran presence is vital for this Jazz team. 

Draymond Green on the other hand is an elite talent and DPOY. He is basically the heart of Golden State. The Warriors rely on Draymond for defense, communication and more often then not, his three point range. 

Draymond has picked up his 3P% in these playoffs, shooting 58.8% above the break 3. He had the most exciting defensive play in the first round. Check this out. ​

On the next two plays he got a block on a Damian Lillard dunk attempt to put the dagger in the 1st game on the playoffs.

Draymond Green will dominate this matchup inside and out. 

Zaza Pachulia vs Rudy Gobert 

AMP • Purple and Blues

Zaza Pachulia 1st Round stats

  • 6.3 PPG
  • 100% FT%
  • 4.5 RPG
  • 0.8 SPG

Rudy Gobert 

  • 8.3 PPG
  • 7.4 RPG
  • 1.4 SPG
  • 1.2 BPG

So originally this is Golden State only liability on matchups being that Gobert is top 2 if not 1 (in some opinions) for DPOY. Zaza Pachulia is not a big body and can’t jump over a sheet of toilet paper but he is a hustle player, very scrappy and manages to get a highlight in each game. No matter the highlight.

Rudy Gobert will dominate this matchup on offense and defense. Golden State can only hope that gang defense on Gobert can work with Pachulia on them. McGee is a very good presence to have on defense to effect Gobert’s shots and vision. 

Gobert shot 75% from the restricted area and 65% from 5ft in. One of the more defensive minded centers in the league and actually one of the best. Ranked #1 in the regular season in blocks per game and total blocks. 

This is an era of matchups. Even with the coaches. Coach Kerr is probably not going to coach the rest of the playoffs still suffering from neck pains and migraines, so it’s up to Coach Mike Brown to coach these Warriors to a 2nd round win against Quin Snyders fighting Utah Jazz. 

The 6 man position isn’t short of attention either as Andre Iguodola looks lead his bench over Iso Joe’ and his troops. Livingston (finger) is still question, Matt Barnes (ankle/foot) is hoping he can participate in game one as he was upgraded to probable for this game one.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron is a staff writer and the Co-Founder of NBALEAD. He has been following the NBA for over 15 years. Graduated from Purdue University.

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