Golden State Warriors close in on Western Conference final berth

  • Golden State Warriors close in on Western Conference final berth

Golden State Warriors close in on Western Conference final berth

At their best, the Golden State Warriors are a free-flowing, ball-skipping machine that dissects defences in search of the most optimal shot. This team is no longer Stephen Curry's team, it is Kevin Durant's team. The Golden State Warriors are shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc and 81.5 percent from the free throw line.

In most Warriors wins it is commonplace for the entirety of the starting rotation to finish with double digit scoring. On the other, the Jazz just couldn't get stops in this situation.

Can the Warriors continue to protect the ball? . Golden State has yet to lose in the playoffs. They have been close in each game, close enough to cover two of the first three. And Utah is still not fully healthy, as George Hill missed Games 2 and 3 with his lingering toe injury flaring up. "That can help you win the game as opposed to the potential results if you don't". The Jazz played their best game of the series in Game 3 and still lost by 11.

Clearly the Warriors will win the series, but they need to be cautious in the next outing. Warriors forward Draymond Green did not practice after tweaking his left knee during Game 2.

At the same time, though, Saturday's Game 3 in Utah against the Jazz felt like the first time the power of this team was truly needed.

Need more proof? Well, ask the Jazz.

Durant had 35 on 15-for-26 shooting.

Utah also did by far their best job on Warriors shooters, particularly the Splash Brothers. They made some shots down the stretch.

But make no mistake about it - the Warriors know that this is an important game. With that chance squandered away, game four could get ugly right out of the gate. This is why they went after him.

Kevin Durant's brilliance in this game took some of the sting out of two bad performances from Golden State's All-NBA backcourt. The Warriors won the battle of the boards 51-42. With the score 86-84 the Warriors broke it open with back-to-back 3-pointers by Curry and Durant that pushed the score to 92-84 with 3:04 to go. They overcame an early 11-point deficit and turned a Draymond Green technical foul into a 22-9 run in the second and third quarter. In Game 3 on Saturday, Thompson went 1-for-9 from the field (0-for-4 from three-point range). The Jazz were contesting shots well, and allowed to play some physical defense. and the only one hurting Utah was Kevin Durant. Hayward had 29 points on 7-for-18 shooting, with six assists. Rudy Gobert was a monster in the paint, scoring 21 points and collecting 15 rebounds.

It was tight the rest of the way as the Warriors emerged with a two point lead after three, and then took over in the mid fourth quarter.

What is left for the Jazz to play for? Durant was having none of it in the fourth quarter. They abandoned getting it to Rudy Gobert in my mind. Joe Johnson has disappeared after being a huge cog for the Jazz in Round One.

Jazz had hoped a return to its home floor would spark a resurgence, and it briefly looked as if it had.

The Jazz were then anointed as the Golden State "kryptonite".

Quin Snyder and company have grown so accustomed to adjusting on the fly, that we as fans have come to expect no less of them if they aren't at full strength.

For a while, it appeared that Utah could finally solve the offensive puzzle that Golden State creates for opposing defenses.