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May 30 2017, 07:19 | Van Peters
Green light from outside Draymond Green
The hosts stretched their lead to as many as nine in the third quarter before Warriors reasserted themselves. At one point in the fourth quarter, it ran onto the court, so Durant didn't mince his words.
Not only that, Golden State was able to secure defensive rebounds, even with Gobert on the floor, which meant that there was only one possession for the Jazz.
Hopefully this was not the "best chance to win" game for the Jazz.
For the first time all series, the Jazz took a lead on the Warriors tonight.
Throughout the contest the Warriors had an answer for every threat from the Jazz - despite some sloppy defence and 17 turnovers that led to 22 Utah points. The Warriors won, 102-91, to move one game away from making the conference finals.
Utah held a lead in the fourth despite starting the game by shooting 28.6 percent in the first quarter.
Gordon Hayward scored 29 points while Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz. It was not just his scoring total that stood out, but rather how he got to that total. And Kevin Durant lost a 3-1 Conference Finals lead to these same Warriors a year ago, so he'll come at this game with a sense of urgency, too. Golden State envisioned Durant, a player of unique size, skill and shooting ability, giving opposing defenses nightmares with his unrivaled capacity to score in a one-on-one situation.
The Warriors knew when they sent a recruiting team to the Hamptons to persuade him to join them that Durant is a game-changer.
Late in the game, Golden State pulled away not because of its lovely ball movement, but because it got stops, then gave Durant the ball and let him run high pick-and-rolls. Mostly because Durant - Curry/Thompson/Draymond Green had combined for just 21 points on 30 shots through three quarters.
"Never lose your aggressiveness", Curry said.
But their best shot just wasn't good enough. Curry and Durant had a chance to relax and have some fun in a press conference for once with the conference finals feeling nearly inevitable at this point. He also deserves a lot of credit for not turning the ball over once all night.
This is exactly why the Warriors brought in Durant.
Shelvin Mack started in place of Hill in Game 2, finishing with 14 points, three rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes. They are saying if Cleveland sweeps Toronto, then Golden State is going to want to sweep Utah to keep pace.
Despite Utah's early lead in the second half, the Warriors kept cutting into it shot by shot. Should the Jazz can get things back to 2-1, then they are guaranteed to make it back to Oakland for Game 5 matchup.
Game 4 is Monday at 9 EST.
Hill's status remains up in the air for what could be the final game in this version of Vivint Arena, which will be renovated over the offseason.
Gobert was effective when his teammates found him running to the rim, perhaps taking advantage of some confusion among the Warriors as they attempted to switch on screens (Mr. Durant, please study Game 3). Utah should get a lift by returning home, but barring career nights from the likes of Hayward and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz's time in the playoffs will soon come to an end.