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Golden State Warriors turn back Utah Jazz to take commanding 2-0 series lead

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
Golden State Warriors turn back Utah Jazz to take commanding 2-0 series lead
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (R) bumps chests with Draymond Green. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Draymond Green led an early spurt with a pair of 3-pointers Thursday night, propelling the Golden State Warriors to a 115-104 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Green (21), Kevin Durant (25) and Stephen Curry (23) all topped 20 points for the Warriors, who will take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series to Salt Lake City for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

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Utah's Gordon Hayward, held to 12 points Tuesday in a 106-94 loss in Game 1, led all scorers with 33 points Thursday.

The biggest scare the Warriors survived in the game occurred early in the fourth period when Green fell to the court while trying an awkward driving shot against Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

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Green quickly regained his feet but grabbed at his left knee as he dropped back to the court, which resulted in a stoppage of play. Green was able to walk to the locker room and shortly thereafter returned to the bench.

Unlike Game 1, when Golden State was able to sit Curry for the fourth quarter after he had twisted his left ankle, Warriors coach Mike Brown rushed Green back into the game with 5:16 to go and the Jazz having climbed within 102-93.

The Jazz still had a chance, down 109-102 after a Rodney Hood interior hoop with 2:04 to play, before Durant found Andre Iguodala open under the basket for the game-clinching basket with 1:45 left.

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Durant scored a majority of his 25 points on 13 of 15 free throws. He led the Warriors with 11 rebounds and tied Curry for game-high honors in assists, with seven.

Green and Curry each shot 5-for-8 on 3-pointers as the Warriors rebounded from a substandard effort from beyond the arc in Game 1 to connect on 14 of 31.

Hayward connected on 11 of his 21 shots for the Jazz.

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Gobert snatched a game-high 16 rebounds to go with 16 points for Utah, and Shelvin Mack, subbing for injured George Hill, added 14 points.

The Warriors, who opened Game 1 with a 9-0 burst, were even better in the encore.

It began with a 12-3 flurry anchored by Green's first two 3-pointers.

Then, after the Jazz stabilized and hung within 21-11 in the eighth minute of the period, Golden State tightened the defensive screws, harassing the visitors into nine consecutive misses during a 12-2 run that opened a 33-13 advantage.

Green scored 12 of his 21 points in the period.

The Jazz, hitting 26 of their 42 shots in the second and third periods, rallied within 10 late in the second period and six in the third. But Green ended one spurt with an assist on Durant's hoop and stopped another run with a hoop of his own, keeping Utah within arm's length.

NOTES: The Warriors have yet to trail in the series. ... The Warriors opened the postseason 6-0 for the first time. ... The Warriors improved to 6-1 at home against the Jazz in playoff games. ... Jazz PG George Hill sat out with a sprained left big toe. The injury is not considered to be series-threatening. ... Warriors coach Steve Kerr is not expected to travel with the team when it leaves for Salt Lake City on Friday.

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