Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors beat Utah Jazz for Game 1 victory

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange  |  May 3, 2017 at 10:06 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The defensive-minded Utah Jazz would like to shorten the games against the Golden State Warriors, the NBA's highest-scoring team, in their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.

But as Utah coach Quin Snyder informed his players after the Jazz's 106-94 loss Tuesday in Game 1 of the best-of-seven set, having the offense show up three or four minutes late for the first and fourth quarters was not what he had in mind.

The Warriors used a 9-0 game-opening burst to create a lead they never relinquished, and a 10-0 flurry at the start of the fourth quarter to put the Jazz away for good.

"If you have those moments where you're not urgent enough," Snyder said, "they just punish you for it."

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday, also on the Warriors' home floor.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry with 22 points in only 30 minutes, helping Golden State, the top seed in the West, remain unbeaten in five contests this postseason.

"We picked up right where we left off," Curry said, referring back to Golden State's 4-0 sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, which ended with a 128-103 road blowout. "I think our defense to start the first quarter gave us a chance to settle in offensively and find our rhythm. That's what you need in the playoffs -- to really assert yourself and get the momentum on your side."

Knocking off any of the rust that might have accumulated in seven days off leading into the series, the Warriors shot 48.8 percent against a Utah team that was playing barely 48 hours after having dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of their first-round series Sunday.

"I don't want to blame it on fatigue at all," said Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who missed 11 of his 15 shots and was limited to 12 points. "They just came out firing and knocked us back a little bit."

Down by as many as 17 in the first half, the fifth-seeded Jazz managed to hang within 82-73 in the final minute of the third period.

After Draymond Green closed the third quarter with a pair of free throws that made it an 11-point game, the Warriors pulled away at the start of the final period.

Green had two hoops, including a 3-pointer, in 10-0 the run, during which the Jazz missed six consecutive shots before Joe Johnson dropped in a 3-pointer 3:45 into the period.

"Every time they went on a run," said Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, who was filling in for Steve Kerr, "it seemed we locked in and responded."

The runaway allowed the Warriors to give Curry the fourth quarter off after he tweaked his left ankle on a drive to the hoop in the third period.

Curry later said the injury was not serious, labeling his late rest "routine maintenance."

Curry hit seven of his 11 shots en route to his game-high scoring total. He also found time for seven rebounds and five assists.

Green had a team-high eight rebounds to go with 17 points, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Kevin Durant added 17 points and Klay Thompson 15 for Golden State, which also opened its first-round series against Portland with a 12-point win.

Golden State won despite sinking only 7 of 29 3-point attempts. The Warriors committed just seven turnovers, but they forced 14, which they turned into 20 points.

"That is huge for us," Curry said, "to win the possession game against a team that loves to slow it down."

Rudy Gobert had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Jazz, who won three times on the road in their first-round series against the Clippers.

Reserve Rodney Hood matched Hayward's 12-point total, and Johnson added 11.

"I think both teams can shoot better," said Snyder, whose team made 46.3 percent of its shots. "I thought (Hayward) had some clean looks. He's been making those, and I would anticipate him making them."

NOTES: Both teams played at full strength despite pregame concerns regarding Jazz PF Derrick Favors (sore back), Warriors PG Shaun Livingston (sprained right index finger) and Warriors SF Matt Barnes (sprained right foot). ... The Warriors honored their 2007 team -- labeled "We Believe" during a first-round playoff win over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks -- in an on-court ceremony between the first and second quarters. Among those present: PG Baron Davis, SG Jason Richardson, SF Stephen Jackson and backup PG Monta Ellis, one of two team members (along with Barnes) who remain active in the league. Noticeably absent was coach Don Nelson. ... The timing of the ceremony was a bit curious. The Warriors were eliminated 4-1 by the Jazz in the second round that year. ... Golden State and Utah have met three times in the postseason, with the Warriors winning twice.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories