Golden State ad­vance to fi­nals af­ter rout of Jazz in play­off se­ries

New Straits Times - - Sport -

STEPHEN Curry scored 30 points as the Golden State Warriors wrapped up a se­ries sweep with a 121-95 rout of the Utah Jazz Mon­day.

The Warriors ad­vanced to a Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals show­down against ei­ther Hous­ton or San An­to­nio af­ter over­com­ing a fleet­ing Utah rally to take the se­ries 4-0 at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena.

It was a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 4-0 se­ries vic­tory for the Warriors, who also notched a sweep against Port­land in the open­ing round of the play­offs.

“We gotta good thing go­ing, we’re play­ing well,” Curry said af­ter­ward.

“Tonight we had an op­por­tu­nity to seal the deal and thank­fully we came out on top,” added Curry, prais­ing the Warriors all-round of­fen­sive dis­play.

“That’s our ap­proach to ev­ery game. We don’t know who’s go­ing to have a hot night. We want to keep that go­ing,” he said.

The Warriors laid the foun­da­tion for the win with a dev­as­tat­ing first quar­ter per­for­mance which saw them pour on 39 points to open up a dou­ble-digit lead against a shell-shocked Utah.

The Jazz bat­tled back to re­duce the deficit to eight points at half-time at 6052.

Utah re­mained in touch­ing dis­tance through­out the third pe­riod but the Warriors al­ways looked ca­pa­ble of find­ing an ex­tra gear when it mat­tered.

The de­ci­sive pe­riod came at the end of the third pe­riod when both Curry and An­dre Iguo­dala both hit three-point­ers in quick suc­ces­sion to help the Dubs pull away to 93-79 head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

That burst of scor­ing was a fore­taste of what was to fol­low in the fourth quar­ter, with the Warriors pulling fur­ther clear to wrap up vic­tory by a 26-point mar­gin.

Curry was one of five Warriors play­ers to hit dou­ble fig­ures, with Klay Thompson adding 21 points and Kevin Du­rant 18. Dray­mond Green added 17 points, 10 re­bounds and 11 as­sists for a triple-dou­ble.

For Utah, Gor­don Hay­ward top scored with 25 points while Shelvin Mack had 18 and Dante Exum 15.

Curry mean­while played down the sug­ges­tion that the Warriors may suf­fer deeper into the play­offs af­ter romp­ing through the first two rounds with­out drop­ping a game.

“Ev­ery team that we’ve played had a lot of pride,” Curry said. “We haven’t lost but within these games we’ve re­ally had to check our­selves.

“You can learn lessons through win­ning and that’s what we’ve done.”

Jazz star Hay­ward, who may have played his last game for the team as he pre­pares for free agency, said Utah had been de­feated by a “his­tor­i­cally great team.”

“They make you pay for your mis­takes,” Hay­ward told re­porters. “You have to be al­most per­fect ev­ery pos­ses­sion, or else they turn it into a 9-0 run or 10-0 run.

“You can’t have one men­tal lapse against them. This was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us. They showed why they are who they are, and we’re not quite there yet. But you have to take pos­i­tives from it.”

2ND ROUND PLAY­OFFS (best of seven se­ries): Golden State 121 Utah 95 (Golden State win 4-0).


War­rior Stephen Curry (right) tries to go past Jazz’ s Der­rick Fa­vors dur­ing their game in Los An­ge­les on Mon­day.

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