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Emptying the Noggin — The Warriors’ MVPs win the game
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: The Warriors’ MVPs answered the bell late with an incredible performance from Kevin Durant.
- In his postgame press conference, Quin Snyder said, “We played better than we did the first two nights and uh… uh...” He proceeded to give more of an answer but had he stopped right there, it might have summed up everything in this series. The Jazz did so much tonight and played so hard and “uh… uh...”
- The game was 80-79 with 5:57 left and from that point forward, the only Warriors points were scored by Durant and Curry. They outscored the Jazz 22-12 in the final 5:57. The Jazz missed shots but the Warriors were just remarkable late in the game.
- The exciting thing for Jazz fans is the foundational pieces for the Jazz — Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert — have been incredible in the playoffs. The fight these two have shown is awesome. Gordon is a different player than he was when the playoffs started. He did it again tonight. He simply carried this team when he realized others were making plays. He had 29 points and six assists. He was super aggressive against amazing defense. He hit and took tough shots. He played with a confidence and swagger that will carry him to big places next year.
- Gobert is proving he is ready for the moment. He was a force again tonight. He was 7-8 from the field and had 21 points and 15 rebounds. His effort never wavers. His pursuit of excellence is tremendous. These two guys have shown they are ready for these moments and the Jazz have a bright future with these two. Now, the front office has to build a team around them and add the pieces that fit. The third piece who compliments what they do is vital.
- The key stretch of the game was when Utah was down three, 82-79, and Hayward drove into the lane, three players collapsed on him and he swung to a wide open Boris Diaw who missed an 18 footer. Then Curry hit two free throws to make it a five-point game. Gobert hit two free throws to make it a three-point game again and after a stop, Hayward drove again, the defense collapsed again and he made a great pass to the corner to Joe Johnson who missed a 3, then Durant pulled from 19 to make it a five-point game. After Hayward hit three free throws to make it a two-point game, Curry hit a 3-footer. Hayward missed and Durant followed with a two and it was an eight-point game with 3:19 left. The night was over.
- The Jazz shot 12 of 39 in the second half of the game.
- Durant was incredible. On a night when Curry was just 6 of 20 and Thompson was 1 for 9, the Warriors now have Kevin Durant to score 38 points, grab 13 rebounds and carry them to the win.
- Rodney Hood is now 36 of 100 in the playoffs and 13 of 48 from 3. Tonight, he was 1 for 8. He is now 2 for his last 22 from 3.
- Shelvin Mack played 37 minutes in the place of George Hill. Mack is a battler. He has been a third-string pointer guard his entire career until he came to Utah. He has been incredible for the Jazz. He has been asked to start in the Western Conference semifinals against the greatest set of talent ever in NBA history.
- Joe Johnson went 3 for 12. The speed of the Warriors and the length of Durant, Iguodala and Green make it hard to manufacture his usual looks.
- The Jazz held Curry and Thompson to a combined 7 of 29 from the field.
- Boris Diaw continues to be an amazing +/- player for the Jazz in playoffs. He was +3 again today for the Jazz.
- Shelvin Mack was +6 in 37 minutes and in the 11 minutes he was off the bench the Jazz were -17.
- This is a deflating loss because the Jazz are giving so much of themselves on the court and battling with such gusto and the Warriors continually have too much firepower. They answer each run. They make the huge shots. When one guy is off, there are plenty of others to step up. They do everything so fast and so well defensively. They are a superior team.