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San Francisco • The Golden State Warriors already had one shootaround today, getting in some light workouts and game planning ahead of Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal matchup. The Utah Jazz want to make sure the league's best team doesn't think they'll be getting another one tonight at Oracle Arena.
"I think this is an important game for us to let them know that we're here and it's not going to be a walkthrough or anything," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said.
Hayward was smiling after shootaround this morning, knowing that for the first time in his career he would be playing games in May.
But even with the long odds his underdog Jazz team face as in its matchup with the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs, the all-star forward says he isn't adjusting his mindset or expectations.
"We're going in to compete and play hard and try to win the series," he said. "Different team, different challenge. But you've got to believe in yourself. I don't think very many people thought we were going to win the first series. I know not many people think we have a chance in this one."
Power forward Derrick Favors remains on the Jazz's injury report as he deals with lower back soreness. He was a partial participant in shootaround and is listed as questionable to play in tonight's game.
"Hard to say. We didn't do much," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said when asked how much progress Favors had made from Monday. "But we've been dealing with this. It's nothing new for us to see if a guy can play at game time."
3s and D
With a star-studded lineup that features two former MVPs, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, and one of the league's deadliest marksmen, Klay Thompson, the Warriors' top-rated offense gets a lot of attention.
But don't forget about Golden State's ability to shut down teams with its defense. The Warriors' defensive rating (101.1) was second best during the regular season, just behind the Spurs and just ahead of the Jazz.
"They play good defense also," Jazz forward Boris Diaw said. "They rotate really well. They have size. They're athletic, so they're able to switch change a lot and play really solid defense. We have to play our game. We know what we do offensively that works."