Durant stars as Warriors close out Jazz for Game 3 win

With a 2-0 series lead heading into Game 3, the Warriors are probably more likely to sweep the Jazz than for the series to return to Golden State.

That being said, this Game 3 was representative of everything that the Jazz would have to hope for if they wanted to take a game from Golden State.

The Warriors knew when they sent a recruiting team to the Hamptons to persuade him to join them that Durant is a game-changer.

They seized the lead for the first time in the series when they went up 48-47 in the second period, and led 50-49 at halftime.

But after Utah took a 62-53 lead on Gobert's dunk on a lob from Diaw, the Warriors started their comeback, outscoring the Jazz 19-8 over the final 6 1/2 minutes of the third period to forge in front 72-70 entering the final frame.

But not against Golden State, which got 38 points and 13 rebounds from Durant, 23 points from Curry - who didn't miss a shot in the fourth quarter - and 11 off the bench from Andre Iguodala.

"That's one of the reasons why we welcomed him here", Warriors acting coach Mike Brown said.

"I'm going to try to say this as humble as I can, but I've been doing this for so long", Durant said, "and every time I get out the bed and we have a game that day, I feel like I can go out there and score".

With a 3-0 series lead, the Warriors have all but secured a berth in the Western Conference Finals. No NBA team has ever come back to win a 4-game series after losing the first three games.

The Golden State Warriors looked mortal for the first time in this playoff run in Game 3. They're just bam, bam, bam. Curry registered 23 points on a subpar 6-of-20 shooting night. After chirping at a courtside fan, who among other things, said "legacy" to Durant, the Warriors' lanky scorer planted a fadeaway with 2:09 left to put the Warriors up 11. "Steph got going, K.D. got going, and they're very tough to guard". Hayward had 29 points on 7-for-18 shooting, with six assists.

Regular Jazz starter Ingles had 10 points, five rebounds and two steals while Gordon Hayward led the way for their team with 29 points and French centre Rudy Gobert stepped up with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Here are some trends for this game that will be important for Golden State as they continue their playoff march.

"To me, tonight we played like I think we're capable of playing from an energy and toughness and connectedness [standpoint] defensively", Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We were right there, we had a nine-point lead (in the third quarter)". The game was off to a slow start until the Warriors scored nearly two minutes into the game on a Steph Curry cut to the basket for an easy layup.

Although the Warriors led by at least 10 points throughout the second quarter, the Jazz remained persistent and cut the lead to as few as six once the second half began. It won largely because of those simple offensive plays, committing only seven turnovers and holding Utah to 41 points on 32 percent shooting in the second half.

  • Julie Sanders