Still Looking for No. 1

The Golden State Warriors haven't been the same since becoming the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in a seven-game first-round playoff series last spring. The Utah Jazz are the main reason why.

The Warriors try again for their first win of the season on Saturday when they visit Utah, the team that eliminated Golden State from the playoffs last May and sent it to a defeat in the teams' season opener.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Utah -8.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 213 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 61% of bets for this game have been placed on Utah -8.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Golden State ended a league-high 12-year playoff drought last season, then upset top-seeded Dallas in the opening round of the playoffs. That magical run, however, came to an end when the Jazz eliminated the Warriors in five games in the Western Conference semifinals.

Golden State (0-2) struggled again against Utah (1-1) in a 117-96 home loss in both teams' season opener on Tuesday. Carlos Boozer had 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Jazz held a 56-37 advantage on the glass.

Utah point guard Deron Williams had 24 points and eight assists while emerging Ronnie Brewer chipped in 18 points.

"They had their way with us," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "They're big and strong at all five positions, and they bullied us around."

The Warriors, who last opened 0-3 in 2004-05 under Mike Montgomery, couldn't get back on track Friday night, when they fell 120-114 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Golden State was just 7-for-28 from 3-point range, but Kelenna Azubuike scored a career-high 33 points on 12-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds.

"He played a complete game. He scored and rebounded," Nelson said. "I am very proud of him. He is one of my most solid guys, all-around."

However, the Warriors' defensive problems continued. They're allowing a league-high 118.5 points through two games. Golden State gave up 106.9 points per game last season - the most since Boston allowed 107.9 in 1996-97.

The Jazz had their own struggles as they lost 106-95 to Houston in their home opener on Thursday. Boozer had 30 points and 16 rebounds, and Williams added 18 points and 13 assists, but Utah committed 20 turnovers and made just three of its 14 3-point attempts.

"We tried to go one-on-one. Everyone tried to beat them by themselves," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We're not good enough to play that way."

The Jazz, who haven't lost their first two home games since 2001-02, hope to rebound against the Warriors, whom they've beaten in six straight overall meetings in Salt Lake City. Including the postseason, the Jazz won all five of their home games against the Warriors last season, outscoring them by an average of 11.0 points per game.

Golden State hasn't won in Utah since a 94-90 victory on Nov. 25, 2005.

Despite his team's early woes, the Warriors' Baron Davis is averaging 23.5 points and 10.5 assists. Davis had 25 points and 10 assists in Tuesday's loss to Utah.

Boozer, meanwhile, is averaging 31.0 points and 15.5 rebounds. He averaged 24.2 points and 14.0 boards while shooting nearly 61 percent against the Warriors in last season's playoffs.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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