Golden State Warriors' forward Kevin Durant shoots the ball over Utah Jazz's forward Gordon Hayward during their NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City Saturday.
Kevin Durant scored 38 points and picked up 13 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors withstood a determined Utah effort to down the Jazz 102-91 yesterday morning (Singapore time). Warriors PG Stephen Curry has made 270 career 3-pointers in the postseason. Clearly, the sixth-year small forward understands if the Jazz are to have any chance of a comeback in this series, he has to force the action individually and play more like he did against the Los Angeles Clippers, when he averaged 23.7 points, shot 44 percent from 3-point range (18 of 37) and also frequently got to the line, where made 43 of 45 free throws.
The hosts stretched their lead to as many as nine in the third quarter before the Warriors reasserted themselves. On a night Curry and Thompson were cold, in one of the most hostile environments he had seen all season, Durant owned Utah on the pick-and-roll all game.
But a poor overall shooting stat of 39 per cent and weak return from their bench cost the Jazz. The Warriors had some momentum go their way and with just over five minutes left, they went up by 5.
While Durant consistently willed the Warriors with big shots on Saturday night, it was his aggression that took over.
Although the Warriors have acquitted themselves nicely without Kerr, going 4-0 under acting head coach Mike Brown, the team would love to have their coach back this postseason. The Warriors only need a two or three minute slippage and they open the game up. This was by far his best game of the post season.
The Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz Game 4 kicks off at 10:30 p.m.
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. With Curry struggling (despite the hot finish, he still closed 6-of-20 shooting) and Klay Thompson remaining way off (1-of-9 shooting), Durant shouldered the offensive load.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry says he's doubtful to play for Toronto on Sunday in Game 4 of the Raptors' Eastern Conference semifinal series against Cleveland.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first quarter, but the Jazz fans stayed with the team despite the Warriors being 10 points ahead to end the quarter. In truth they were more than "comfortable" victories, as the Jazz never really challenged and there was never a sense that they could actually win. The two teams that we expect to be there have yet to lose a playoff game. Utah hoped the extra rest would have him ready for Game 3, but he didn't progress enough.
The Jazz trail what some consider one of the greatest teams in National Basketball Association history 3-0.
The Warriors haven't covered in this series yet, but I think they will tonight. The Warriors finally overtook Utah again behind back-to-back baskets from Curry. Game 4 may come down to whether the Warriors want to go for the throat and sweep the Jazz on their home floor.