VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA, SALT LAKE CITY, UT — This is a continuation of the halftime recap of the Golden State Warriors at the Utah Jazz, Game 3 of the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals.
The Jazz held a 50-49 lead at halftime.
Q3: Losing And Regaining
Stephen Curry continued to not find a rhythm at the start of the second half, as he missed a layup and two more trey attempts, and Gordon Hayward responded with a fade-away off the dribble, then a triple, and Warriors head coach Mike Brown called timeout as the Jazz took a 57-51 lead with 8:27 remaining.
While the Warriors’ outside shooting fizzled, Zaza Pachulia supplied the hustle and clutch buckets as he hit an iso shot after the timeout, then got an and-one on a put-back of a Klay Thompson miss, to keep the Warriors from slipping to far off, down 62-56 with 6:32 to play:
Golden State couldn’t take advantage of some nice plays on defense. Kevin Durant got a piece of a Shelvin Mack fade…
…Thompson forced a turnover on an iso in the post against Hayward, and Kevin Durant made a nice block on a hesi lefty drive by Hayward, but was whistled for the foul even though he hit Hayward’s hand.
Still, Durant managed to hit a three, but Curry stayed cold and another miss had him at 0-for-5 from distance from the game. A right-side shifty move bank-shot went too hard as well.
However, Joe Johnson missed a three in transition after that miss, then Steph probed the left baseline, got doubled, spun around from the right corner and dished to an open Andre Iguodala, who then immediately fed JaVale McGee for a two-handed smash:
With 3:42 to go, that seemed to wake up Curry, as the Jazz stranglehold on the game seemed to loosen a bit, their lead down to 66-62.
Johnson got iso’ed against Durant, KD picked him, but Durant’s three on the break from Steph went too hard.
Joe Ingles thought he had the step on McGee down the left side, but JaVale swatted him from behind, Curry was off to the races, and he pulled from the top of the arc with a swish, holding the pose as if to say, “Finally!”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder obviously had to call timeout, and the Warriors somehow took the lead back, 66-65, with 3:05 left.
Out of the timeout, Rodney Hood missed a three over Shaun Livingston, Curry this time hit from the same right side as he had missed before, using a little shake-and-bake, and the Warriors took the lead, 67-66.
Gobert got a dunk via Hayward, Iguodala traded free throws with Hayward, Curry went to the line as well, and after some empty possessions, Iguodala got a dunk from a hesitation dribble by Draymond Green:
Hayward missed, Green got the rebound to Steph just before the buzzer, and Curry’s three-quarter-court heave hit the left side of the backboard as the third quarter came to an end with the Warriors up, 72-70.
Q4: Superstar Power
Both teams punched and counter-punched to start the fourth quarter. Iguodala hit a dribble-and-pop, Ingles responded with a three, and KD drove in for a layup, prompting Snyder to call timeout with 5:44 remaining, the Warriors up 82-79.
Out of the timeout, Boris Diaw missed, then Curry dribbled deep into the Jazz interior, getting the benefit of a whistle on Ingles, the first “superstar” call he’d gotten in a very long time in the playoffs.
Durant stuck a left side stop-and-pop…
…but Hayward drew three free throws on Klay, with Thompson throwing his arms up in disbelief by the call. All three from the charity stripe brought Utah back to within 86-84 with 3:56 to play.
That’s when Steph rattled in a triple from the left wing, assisted by another off-ball pick plus Iguodala’s pass from the top, then after Hayward couldn’t hit over Curry, Durant drained a triple off the bounce from the left arc, and the Warriors finally had the separation they were fighting for, taking a 92-84 lead into the final stretch with 3:04 to go.
During the timeout, Durant yelled at the Jazz mascot to get off the floor:
Later, Durant took exception to a shove in the back by Gobert, but the play resulted in a Flagrant One on KD plus a technical.
Gobert missed both flagrant free throws and Durant could be seen saying, “Waste of time!” after an expletive:
KD banked in a deep two-pointer and laughed out loud, a cold response to the previous sequence, and with under a minute left, Utah’s fate for Game 3 was all but sealed, now down 99-87.
Gobert responded with a layup, but Curry supplied the final dagger with a step-back triple with 30 seconds left, putting the Warriors up, 102-89.
The game ended harmlessly as Hayward drew three foul shots outside the arc on Durant, and the final score was 102-91. KD led all scorers with 38 points.
The Warriors will try to wrap up the series in two nights back here for Game 4.
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @bonnevillebarrles)