At the 3:58 mark of the fourth quarter with the Golden State Warriors leading the Utah Jazz 96-73 on Monday night, Mark Jackson took out his starters in a five-man substation, bringing in bench players to see some garbage time minutes.
That didn’t work out so well.
In a span of a two minutes and half, the lineup of Draymond Green, Marreese Speights, Kent Bazemore, Ongjen Kuzmic, and Nemanja Nedovic turned the ball over four times, did not score a single point, and allowed the Jazz to go on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 96-85.
So back in the game came the Warriors’ regulars of David Lee, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut, who all thought their night was done.
Head coach Mark Jackson said he had no other choice.
“I wanted to make sure my guys were fine, that they were still loose,” Jackson told Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area. “Once they said they were fine, it wasn’t a tough decision at all. I’m not into embarrassing any one of my guys, but if you continue to put forth embarrassing effort, you leave me no choice.”
The Warriors may be off to a terrific start, but their bench looks to be pretty thin and vulnerable. And with veterans Toney Douglas and Jermaine O’Neal injured, the group of reserves lacks experience and it clearly showed when they couldn’t even effectively defend a 23-point lead.
The last thing the Warriors want to see is one of their starters getting fatigued or injured late in the season because they are playing too many minutes due to an ineffective bench.