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The Roundup—Jazz 94, Warriors 106
Playing in their first Western Conference Semifinals since 2010, the Utah Jazz put together several strong stretches but eventually fell to the top-seeded Golden State Warriors 106-94 Tuesday night in Oakland.
Rudy Gobert led the Jazz with 13 points, and he added eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood finished with 12 points each.
Joe Johnson was in Utah's starting lineup for the first time this postseason. He scored 12 points in 22 minutes.
The Jazz kept things close, pulling to within seven points midway through the third quarter, but the Warriors' high-powered offense was simply too much to handle.
Stephen Curry led all scorers with 22 points, while Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. Kevin Durant (17 points), Klay Thompson and Zaza Pachulia (10 points) also scored in double figures in the win.
The Warriors showed no signs of rust after a lengthy break—they had seven days off after sweeping the Trail Blazers in the opening round. The Jazz had capped off their seven-game series with the Clippers on Sunday.
Hood shot 0-for-4 from 3-point range, but he was aggressive with the ball and showed off a flurry of strong finishes in the lane. He shot 6-for-8 from inside the arc, with 10 of his 12 points coming in the third quarter.
The Warriors came out and scored the first nine points of the game, but the Jazz didn't back down. Hayward canned a 3-pointer from the wing, while Gobert put in a layup, swatted a Kevin Durant shot, and threw down a two-handed dunk off and alley-oop from Hayward. The Jazz would go on to cut Golden State's lead to one late in the first quarter.
Utah trailed by 17 late in the second quarter before scoring the final five points of the half, including a corner three by Hayward with 10 seconds left. The Jazz kept that momentum rolling in the second half, starting the third quarter with an 8-3 run to cut Golden State's lead to seven. George Hill sank a one-handed runner, and then Gobert drove into the lane and kicked the ball to the corner for two straight threes (one each by Johnson and Joe Ingles). The Warriors went on a 9-0 run before Hood got rolling, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field to keep the Jazz within striking distance throughout the third period.
The Warriors—as they do—broke things wide open with a 12-0 run that essentially put the game away by the midway point of the fourth quarter. Utah's reserves, though, kept things interesting until the very end. Danté Exum and Trey Lyles each made a 3-pointer. Joel Bolomboy threw down two strong dunks. And Raul Neto's layup with 34 seconds left, which turned out to be the final points of the game, pulled the Jazz within 12—just beating the 13-point spread.
The Warriors didn't shoot the ball well (only 7-for-29 from 3-point range), but they took advantage of Utah's mistakes, converting 14 Jazz turnovers into 20 points. Many of those points came in transition, where Golden State outscored Utah 29-6. Fast-break points will be an area to monitor since this series features a dichotomy of styles—the Warriors play at the NBA's fourth-fastest pace, while the Jazz play at the slowest.
The Jazz had a significant advantage on the boards. Utah outrebounded Golden State 44-37 and limited the Warriors to only five offensive rebounds. The Jazz scored 14 second-chance points to Golden State's eight.
The Warriors—who led the NBA in assists during the regular season—were 49-1 this season when they dished out at least 30 assists. Tonight they finished with 32. Five Golden State players—David West (seven), Green (six), Curry (five), Durant (five) and Andre Iguodala (five)—had at least five assists. The Jazz finished with 25 assists, far better than their season average of 19.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"It's hard to overcome the turnovers. You can, but you've got to play really well and there's pressure on you all the time. You're going to have breakdowns. That's basketball—people make mistakes. But you can't have them consecutively, or have that many of them."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Every Utah player who suited up ended up playing, and each of them scored at least two points. ... Shelvin Mack finished with six points, seven rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes off the bench. ... Utah's reserves outscored their Golden State counterparts 46-25. ... The Warriors shot 19-for-21 (90.5 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Jazz will stay on the road to take on the Warriors for Game 2 on Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on ESPN.