Durant orchestrates win as hapless Jazz face the music

Golden State's Kevin Durant shooting over Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz during the 102-91 victory that gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series. Durant scored 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to set up the win.
Golden State's Kevin Durant shooting over Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz during the 102-91 victory that gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series. Durant scored 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to set up the win.PHOTO: REUTERS

SALT LAKE CITY (Utah) • When he saw shots were not falling for his team-mates, Kevin Durant went to work reviving the Golden State Warriors' offence.

Durant did a little bit of everything through four quarters. He drained step-back and fadeaway jumpers, cut to the rim for layups and buried timely three-pointers.

The former National Basketball Association (NBA) MVP (Most Valuable Player) did not merely experience a good shooting night. He scorched the nets for the better part of 48 minutes.

Durant finished with post-season highs of 38 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Warriors to a 102-91 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

Golden State took a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-finals series. The Warriors also moved one game closer to reaching the Western finals after Durant posted a second straight 30-point, 10-rebound game.

"The other 19,000 people in the arena and everyone else watching on TV saw the same thing I saw," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said.

  • 7

  • Consecutive post-season games Golden State have won.

"It's an easy decision at that moment, try to set a screen for him, get him in the right spot and he does the rest."

Curry added 23 points on six-of-20 shooting for Golden State, who have won 22 of their last 23 games.

Durant shot 15-of-26 from the field, including a team-high four three-pointers. He kept the Warriors going even as the Jazz pulled ahead late in the first half and led by nine points in the third quarter.

He stayed patient and trusted in the work he put in, going into the game and it paid off. Game Four is tomorrow in Utah.

"I try to use my length and shoot over guys," Durant said. "(Rudy) Gobert is a load down there in the paint, so I know I just can't go in there and throw up anything. I just try to be cerebral every time down, but also be aggressive and my team-mates open it up a lot for me."

Gordon Hayward scored 29 points while Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz.

The Warriors matched their postseason low with only seven turnovers and had none after half-time.

"Give our guys credit," Warriors acting coach Mike Brown said in the absence of Steve Kerr, who is still out after undergoing a procedure for a back injury. "They stayed poised. They could have caved at any time, but they just stayed with it. There was no panic involved or anything like that."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2017, with the headline 'Durant orchestrates win as hapless Jazz face the music'. Print Edition | Subscribe