Jonathan Kuminga’s season-high can’t be forgotten amid Golden State Warriors debacle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - DECEMBER 07: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz argues with Golden State Warriors players during the second half of the game at Vivint Arena on December 07, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - DECEMBER 07: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz argues with Golden State Warriors players during the second half of the game at Vivint Arena on December 07, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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While the Golden State Warriors will be left licking their wounds following an unfathomable loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, the performance of second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga should not be forgotten amid the chaos of the final 13 seconds.

Kuminga was the key orchestrator in the Warriors’ fourth-quarter comeback, and his big-time plays should have resulted in a win if not for a team meltdown that resulted in the heartbreaking 124-123 loss.

Jonathan Kuminga produced one of his best games in what was a major positive in an otherwise deflating Golden State Warriors loss to the Utah Jazz.

The 20-year-old produced a season-high 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, also recording five rebounds, four assists and some spectacular defensive moments. That included what should have been the defining moment of the game — a block on Jordan Clarkson’s game-tying attempt with 25 seconds to play, with a scuffle ensuing that left the Utah veteran ejected on a flagrant two foul.

Head coach Steve Kerr was emphatic in his praise for Kuminga post-game, with the performance coming just a week after what Kerr described as Kuminga’s career-best game against the Dallas Mavericks.

"“JK was tremendous tonight, fantastic. He continued his recent play as far as defense and running the floor, really being solid. But he added the scoring — getting to the rim, posting up a couple of times. Fantastic defense down the stretch when he blocked Clarkson’s shot and then got fouled. JK was magnificent and it’s a shame we couldn’t finish it off with the win.”"

The Warriors went into the fourth-quarter down nine after a Jazz explosion from three-point range in the third. With Jordan Poole on the bench and Klay Thompson struggling for efficiency, it was Kuminga who produced the offense that pulled the Warriors close before Poole’s return.

He had a trio of major plays in a short span, beginning with a vicious and-one dunk where he completely engulfed Nickeil Alexander-Walker off a post-up. He followed that with a major putback dunk over two defenders from a Thompson missed layup, before spinning his way to the rim for another layup shortly after.

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It was the kind of performance the Warriors needed in a game where they were missing Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. If Kuminga can replicate these performances and become a consistent 20-25+ minute player for the remainder of the season, then we can look back at the Jazz game as a major catalyst for growth rather than one of hindrance.