The Golden State Warriors experienced its toughest test thus far of these playoffs in a Game 3 win over the Utah Jazz. Despite the 102-91 final score, this was a contest where Golden State trailed during the second half and received almost nothing from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Curry went 6-20 (3-11 from deep) for a labored 23 points and Thompson scored 6 points on 1-9 shooting. Compensating for the Splash Brothers struggles was Kevin Durant who was supremely masterful. The lanky star posted 38 points and 13 rebounds on 15-26 shooting (4-8 on threes).
There was a sequence that featured three consecutive fadeaway jumpers out of the post by Durant over Gordan Hayward. The newest Warriors star also utterly abused Utah big man Rudy Gobert, routinely destroying him on switches created by pick-and-roll situations.
Golden State typically relies on ball movement and balanced scoring. However, in difficult road environments when jump shots by stars such as Curry and Thompson aren’t falling, Durant’s isolation plays from the post actually act as a neutralizing factor for the 1-seed.
In terms of the Jazz, this was a horrific loss. They had a raucous home crowd, 29 points for Hayward, a 21/15 line from Gobert, and blew a chance to capitalize on the Splash Brothers severely struggling. That stated, Game 3 displayed how difficult it is to complete a victorious effort against the Warriors.
This largely ugly contest featured 44 percent shooting from Golden State and 30 percent from three-land. Utah was 39 percent from the floor and 32 percent from deep. The Jazz had 8 turnovers compared to 7 for the Warriors (the Warriors also didn’t commit a turnover during the entire second half).
Even a Jazz Game 3 win wouldn’t have altered this into a competitive series, but it certainly would have made Game 4 more enticing to the casual fan. The competitive will of the young Jazz will be revealed in the near future as they will either have a hangover from this loss or fight to keep its season alive.
Game 4 will be in Utah on Monday, 5/8 at 9:00 PM ET.