VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA, SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Two nights after taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals, the Golden State Warriors (3-0) were back to try and close out in Game 4 against the host Utah Jazz (0-3).
The Warriors were without Kevon Looney (left hip strain).
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder started Shelvin Mack in place of the injured George Hill.
Q1: Pour It On
Golden State made a concerted effort to get Klay Thompson going early, and he responded, hitting a baseline turnaround jumper over the shorter Shelvin Mack, then draining a long two after a steal of a pass from Joe Ingles.
Later, Stephen Curry drove to find Draymond Green under the hoop, albeit guarded by Rudy Gobert. Green flipped the ball back to Curry, who back-pedaled with the dribble, then hit the three from the corner.
Steph hit another triple after shorting one…
…the ball going off a Jazz player and possession retained, with Draymond providing the assist, and at the first timeout, the Warriors held a 10-3 lead with 8:46 remaining.
The Warriors continued to pour it on, as Green got a dunk after an up-fake from the left side…
…Curry found Kevin Durant on a baseline inbound, then Durant re-fed Steph for a reverse layup…
…and Thompson posted up Mack in the paint and drew Mack’s third personal foul, forcing Snyder to go to his bench early.
But Curry went tic-tac-toe to Draymond to a cutting Klay, the crowd groaned as Gordon Hayward missed a dribble-and-pop, then Joe Johnson fouled Steph as he dribbled past the halfcourt circle and was smart enough to go into a shooting motion. The ref gave him three free throws, and Curry’s trip to the line gave the Warriors a 21-7 lead.
After Rodney Hood missed a three then traveled after Zaza Pachulia smoked a touchdown pass from Draymond, Green hit a catch-and-shoot swish from the left arc via overhead pass from Steph…
…then Curry hit Andre Iguodala in transition for a jumper, and with 2:51 to play, Golden State’s lead grew to 28-10.
JaVale McGee came in and put back his own miss at the rim against Gobert, drew a trip to the line as he got hit by Hood on a nice reverse pass from Livingston, and goal-tended a Johnson runner.
Curry drew three more free throws as Hood closed out too hard from the left corner, and McGee dunked on the break after another Johnson miss…
…and the Warriors took a 39-15 lead into the second stanza.
Q2: Righting The Ship, Then Springing A Leak
David West missed a jumper, then a nice move under the hoop trickled off the rim, and Ian Clark got a bucket on the run, but made a bad pass and things started going downhill from there.
Derrick Favors got a dunk fed by Ingles, and Favors got another smash, this time a two-hander, from Johnson, and Warriors head coach Mike Brown took a timeout with 9:53 to go and his lead dwindled to 41-25.
But after the timeout, Durant missed a runner off the bank too hard, Klay committed an offensive foul pulling defensive hands away, and Green missed a three badly.
Meanwhile, Dante Exum blew past Thompson for a two-hand jam, Johnson drew an up-fake foul on West, and Exum got a layup on a cut, the assist by Ingles, and Brown called another timeout as the Jazz crept to within 41-31 with 8:36 left.
But the Warriors’ new drought-stopper, Durant, went to work and drove in for a layup, then drilled a triple on the catch from Green, and the ship was righted:
Draymond struck again from the left corner on a dish by Steph, Curry answered a bucket by Hood by attacking and pulling up from the free throw line, and Green hit Livingston, who hit KD for a bounce pass and a dunk down the left side:
Steph got a rebound and raced up the court for a lefty lay-in over the rim, and with 4:05 remaining, the Warriors were back in control, up 56-38 as Snyder called a twenty-second timeout:
Later, Johnson missed a triple from the left arc, Durant snagged the board and darted up the court, missing a layup as Utah was in pursuit, then getting his own rebound for the putback on the other side of the board.
With 2:14 to play, the Warriors held a 58-40 lead.
But the Jazz made a push to end the half, with Hayward making a strong move against Green, Ingles popping a triple from the left arc on a side inbound, and Hayward using an upfake to draw defenders and dishing to Exum from the left corner for three. Klay also missed a jumper with no one underneath, although he had just hit one.
Draymond couldn’t convert against the smaller Exum, Hayward drew a trip to the line on a drive against Curry, and Steph couldn’t answer at the buzzer, and the Warriors went into halftime with a 60-52 lead, but the Jazz had the momentum.
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @gavanbruderer)