ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND, CA — Eight nights after advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals and awaiting the winner of the Utah Jazz against the Clippers, the Golden State Warriors (0-0) were back at home for Game 1 against the Jazz (0-0).
The Warriors welcomed back Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes from their respective injuries. Kevon Looney was still out with a left hip strain. However, Steve Kerr was not in the building.
Q1: High Energy
Golden State got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead as Draymond Green fed Zaza Pachulia with a lead pass in transition after Joe Ingles missed a step-back jumper.
Then Green slapped the ball out of Rudy Gobert’s hands inside the paint, off Gobert’s leg, which led to a dribble-and-pop after a crossover for two by Klay Thompson:
Draymond drew foul shots, again leading the break after George Hill threw the ball behind Gobert on a slip, and Thompson got an alley-oop after a missed three by Hill, which prompted Jazz head coach Quin Snyder:
Even Pachulia hit a shot launched from what looked like his waist on a catch from Stephen Curry…
…but Gobert answered back with an and-one inside the paint against Zaza, and that broke the Utah drought at 9-3 with 7:48 remaining.
The Jazz hung in there and fought back with threes from Joe Johnson and Gordon Hayward, negating Curry’s first made triple and a jumper, Gobert got an alley-oop running pick-and-roll with Hayward, and despite an early answer from Steph’s nice floater:
Then the Jazz got a layup after Curry airballed a three on contact with no call, and Warriors head coach Mike Brown called timeout as Utah crept back to an 18-15 deficit with 3:30 to play.
The quarter ended with buckets from Kevin Durant attacking the lane with a lefty…
…Steph drawing free throws on a Rodney Hood foul outside the arc…
…Curry going left side high board over the helping Derrick Favors…
…and Andre Iguodala stealing a bad swing pass from Ingles and turning that into a fast break give-and-go touch pass from Livingston.
After the opening period buzzer sounded, the Warriors held a 27-21 lead.
Q2: Putting The Jazz Through The Spin Cycle
Golden State made a mini-push early on in the second stanza as Klay hit a three over Johnson, Draymond turned a miss from Utah into a touchdown pass to David West for a dunk, and Green followed that up with a three on the catch on a swing pass from Iguodala up top.
Hill then missed an attack versus Thompson, and Iguodala pushed the ball to find Green for a lefty layup, forcing Snyder to call timeout as the Warriors jumped out to a 39-25 lead with 9:22 to go:
Later, Durant got a steal and fed Klay for the three in transition, then Livingston made a late-shotclock jumper over Gobert, rimmed short, but he followed his shot and the lane was wide open for a dunk.
Boris Diaw finally stopped the Warriors’ momentum with a long two in transition, and Brown called timeout with 5:40 left and the Warriors’ lead holding at 46-33.
The Jazz starting hitting their shots, but Livingston made a dribble-and-pop fade in the lane, Durant got hot with two straight jumpers, one on an iso on the right wing against Hayward and the other a catch-and-shoot near the left arc, but Steph had Gobert on skates on an island from the left arc, and after a step-back gave the Utah big man the “spin cycle”, Curry dribbled in for a fantabulous reverse layup:
Green drew an offensive foul on a post-up by Diaw, and at the TV timeout, Golden State held a 54-39 lead with 2:38 remaining.
Out of the timeout, Curry hit another bucket, then after a nice left baseline floater by Dante Exum, Steph got a bad pass stolen by Exum in the backcourt, but Hayward’s rim run got knocked out beautifully by Draymond
Curry outlet to Iguodala, who found Durant for the tomahawk jam down the right side:
Snyder called timeout with 1:06 to play, Ingles hit a bankshot from the left side, and the Warriors couldn’t answer as Steph zinged a pass to Livingston in the paint, who lasered it back to Iguodala from the left side, and his shot went too hard off rim at the buzzer.
The Warriors took a 58-46 lead into halftime, led by 16 points from Curry and 10 each from Klay and Durant. Green tallied 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Gobert and Hayward led Utah with 10 points apiece.