Man, are the Warriors ever going to lose during this year’s playoffs? The best shot at a Warriors’ playoff loss came and went on Saturday night when the Utah Jazz hosted the Golden State Warriors for game 3 of their Western Conference Semi-Final series. Utah was actually up for the first time in the series in this game, and they took a 1 point lead into the 4th quarter. In the end though, Golden State just had too many weapons. Utah was able to contain 3 out of the Warrior’s 4 All-Stars, but the it wouldn’t be enough. Golden state would come up with another big playoff win and go up 3-0 in their best of 7 series. The Warriors were led by Kevin Durant who had a huge night scoring 38 points, pulling down 13 boards, and dishing out 1 assist. He didn’t get much help from Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, who combined to go 7-29 from the field and 3-15 from deep. Curry did manage to score a respectable 23 points, while Thompson only scored 4. Draymond Green was plagued with foul trouble all game and only chipped in 9 points. For the Jazz, Gordon Hayward just keeps coming into his own. Hayward put up 29 points, 2 rebounds, and 6 assists in Saturday’s loss. He was helped out by his fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert, who scored 21 points and grabbed 15 big rebounds. It was Utah’s best chance at stealing a game, and it looked like they might almost do it for a second.
The game started off slow, not getting it’s first made basket until the 10:07 mark of the 1st, when Steph Curry got the ball rolling. The Warriors would go up 6-1 on a Zaza Pachulia layup with 9:01 to go in the quarter. It seemed like this game would go just like the first 2 games. Utah would fight back, just like they do every time, and with 5:45 to go in the 1st, Rudy Gobert would would tie the game at 10-10. The Warriors would go back up 5, 15-10, after a 3 by KD and a bucket by Klay Thompson with 4:41 lwft in the 1st. A Kevin Durant bucket with :31 seconds left in the quarter made it an 10 point Warriors lead, 27-17 with 1 quarter in the books. Joe Johnson kicked off the 2nd quarter with a 3 point make, cutting the Warrior lead to 7, 27-20. Draymond Green bumped the lead back up to 9 with 9:52 left in th 2nd, 29-20. Then, the Jazz went on run, cutting the lead down all the way 1 point, 39-38, with 4:00 to go in the half. The Warriors would answer with 3 pointers by Andre Iguodala and KD, making the lead 7 points, 47-40, with 2:28 left in the 2nd. Utah briefly took their first lead of the series, 48-47, on a Rodney Hood 3 point bucket with 1:00 to go until the half. David West gave the Warriors back the lead with :52 left in the 2nd, but a pair of free throws by Rudy Gobert put the Jazz up, 50-49, going into halftime.
Kevin Durrant put the Warriors back in front, with 10:44 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Jazz responded with a run that energized their crowd, and gave them their biggest lead of the series, 60-53. It was capped off by a Gordon Hayward 3 point basket with 7:50 to go in the quarter. The Warriors would stay poised, and with 2:35 left in the 3rd, Steph Curry gave them back the lead 67-66, on a 3 point make. A dunk by Andre Iguodala kept the Warriors in front, 72-70, headed into the 4th quarter. Draymond Green made it 74-70, after a dunk to start the quarter. Shelvin Mack answered with a 3 point bucket, cutting it to a 74-73 Warriors lead. Borris Diaw gave Utah the lead one last time with 9:52 to go,75-74, but they wouldn’t lead again. They would tie the game with 7:15 left, and get as close as 86-83, after 2 made free throws by Gordon Hayward. The night belonged to Kevin Durrant however, and he helped lead his Warriors to a 3-0 series lead. The most intriguing part of the 4th quarter was a flagrant foul by Kevin Durant on Rudy Gobert with 1:23 left in the game. Both teams got a bit heated but the game was well out of reach by then. A technical foul free throw by Hayward only cut the lead to 10, 97-87. The Jazz played their best game of the series, nut inve again fell to the Warriors, this time 102-91. The Jazz will try not to get swept now, but even if they do, they should be proud of the fight they’ve put up against the odds on favorites to win the NBA Championship.
Game 4 is Monday at 9 PM EST on TNT.