Mercifully that’s over with now. The Golden State Warriors wrapped up their series with the Utah Jazz on Monday night, winning 121-95, and advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight year. Utah put up a valiant effort all series long, but the Warriors were just too much in the end. George Hill missed his 3rd straight game of the series with a sprained left toe, but he wouldn’t have done much to tip the scales in Utah’s favor anyways. Steph Curry led the way for the Warriors, scoring 30 huge points. Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet and notched with a triple double, with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Klay Thompson chipped in 21 points, and KD added in 18 more. For the Jazz, it was Gordon Hayward once again carrying the offensive load, scoring 25 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and dishing out 3 assists. Rudy Gobert helped out with a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds), while Shelvin Mack put up 18 points. The Jazz got some unexpected help in the form of Dante Exum, who scored 15 points off the bench.
Klay Thompson got the game started with a 16 foot jumper, and by the 8:22 mark of the 2nd quarter, the Warriors were up 12-3. The Warriors would keep pouring it on. A Draymond Green 3 point basket with 4:54 left in the 1st, made it a 24-7 Warriors lead. Steph Curry would sink 3 free throws (his 2nd set of 3 free throws of the quarter) :52 left in the opening quarter to put the Warriors up 37-15. JaVale McGee and Dante Exum would exchange buckets, and the quarter would end with a score of 39-17, Warriors. Ian Clark scored the opening bucket of the 2nd quarter for the Warriors, making it 41-17. Then, in what has been Utah’s calling card all post-season, they fought back, hard. The Jazz went on a 14-2 run, and cut the lead to 41-31, after a bucket by Dante Exum with 8:36 to go. The Warriors answered back with an 8-0 run of their own, giving them a 49-31 lead. Utah once again fought back, and after a coupke of made free throws by Gordon Hayward to end the half, Utah went into halftime only down 8, 60-52. You’ve got to admire Utah’s fortitude. They could’ve easily packed it in after the 1st quarter, a lot of teams would have, but they just kept on fighting.
Kevin Durant opened up the 3rd quarter with a bucket, and gave the Warriors a 62-52 lead. Utah would cut the lead to only 6, 66-60, after a pair of Shelvin Mack free throws with 9:04 left in the 3rd quarter, but the Warriors always had an answer to a Utah run. Both a Shelvin Mack 3 pointer with 4:22 to go in the 3rd, and a Gordon Hayward jumper with 2:31 left, only cut the lead to 7. A Steph Curry 3 with :36 left in the 3rd, made it 90-79, Warriors. An absolute back breaker of a 3 by Andre Iguodala with :02 to go in the quarter made it a 93-79 Warriors lead heading into the 4th. The final quarter of Utah’s season didn’t go they way they’d hoped. After Shelvin Mack scores and makes it a 12 point deficit, with 10:00 left in the game, the Jazz would go cold. They wouldn’t score a single point again, until the 6:22 mark of the 4th, when Shelvin Mack finally ended the drought. By that point though, it was 102-85 in favor of the Warriors. Golden State’s starters would all get taken out with 3:53 to go in the game. The score was 113-87 at the time. The Jazz would continue to play hard for the rest of the game, but they’re season ended with a 121-95 defeat at the hands of the odds on favorites to win the NBA Championship. Nothing to be ashamed of. This young Jazz team will now look to build on an impressive season. While the Warriors get to rest up and wait for either an undermanned Spurs team, or and undermanned Rockets team. Either way, things are looking good for the Warriors going into the Western Conference Finals.