Programming note: Jazz-Warriors coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND -- With the No. 1 overall seed locked up, the remaining games are less about results than process for the Warriors. Tune-up time begins Monday night when they face the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena.
Though Stephen Curry will return after a one-game absence, the Warriors (66-14) will be without shooting guard Klay Thompson, who is given the night off to rest.
Though Utah (49-31) is locked in a battle with the Clippers to determine home court advantage in their upcoming first-round series, several key players will be missing from the roster, including All-Star forward Gordon Hayward.
Warriors by 10.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Zaza Pachulia vs. Rudy Gobert. Gobert is a contender for Defensive Player of the Year, as the 7-foot-1 center with the 7-9 wingspan leads the NBA in blocks and ranks fourth in rebounding. Pachulia’s job will be to keep Gobert from dominating in the paint and on the glass. In other words, getting physical will be the order of the day for Pachulia as well as backups David West and JaVale McGee.
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as doubtful. G Klay Thompson (rest) and F Matt Barnes (R ankle/foot sprain) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.
Jazz: G George Hill (R groin strain) is listed questionable. F Gordon Hayward (L quad contusion), F Derrick Favors (L knee soreness), G Rodney Hood (R knee soreness) and G Raul Neto (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.
Warriors: 10-0. Jazz: 6-4.
The Warriors won the first two meetings this season, Dec. 8 in Salt Lake City and Dec. 20 in Oakland, and have won 13 of the last 14 dating back to the 2012-13 season. They have won the last seven meetings in Oakland.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
KD’S RHYTHM AND TIMING: Upon his return last Saturday, Kevin Durant looked rusty for a half but seemed to find his stride in the second half. He played 31 minutes, an impressive total for someone who had missed 20 games. The minutes may be similar as he continues to chip off all elements of rust.
TREY TIME: The Jazz own one of the league’s better defenses but often lack the quickness to provide strong defense beyond the arc, ranking second in overall field-goal defense but 16th in 3-point field-goal defense. Stephen Curry, Durant and others will have opportunities to launch from deep.
MORE TREYS: Utah’s Joe Johnson (1,932) and Curry (1,906) rank 6-7 on the list of 3-pointers made by active players. Though Curry has no realistic chance of catching the venerable forward, it’ll be interesting to see if the two can stage a few shootout moments.