Not even a change of scenery to Salt Lake City could give the Utah Jazz a chance to get back in the series, losing Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Golden State Warriors, 102-91.
As the Jazz trailed 2-0 coming home, it was a must win game to stay alive against the best team in the NBA, the Warriors. They needed the home crowd’s energy and support, especially after some negative remarks made from Warrior players Matt Barnes and Andre Iguodala about the Utah nightlife.
While the Warriors virtually made the first two games of the series a no contest, Game 3 was Utah’s best game by far. The Jazz starting lineup all scored in double digits, including Gordon Hayward scoring 29 points and dishing six assists and Rudy Gobert’s 24 points and 15 rebounds that kept them close to the Warriors.
One of the outspoken leaders on Golden State and do-it-all guys, Draymond Green, supplied his team with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the game. He also garnered the team a technical foul late in the second quarter after complaining about an earlier call from the bench.
That technical in effect let the Jazz stay within striking distance with a few minutes left in the quarter that led to a 12-5 run. Their lead at the half, 50-49, marked the first time the Jazz led at any point in the series.
Even with all the momentum going to the Jazz, Warriors small forward Kevin Durant, scored 22 of his 38 points in the first half with 13 of those in the first quarter and would deliver down the stretch with another 11 in the fourth quarter.
After a late run at the end of the third quarter that gave the Warriors the lead back, the Jazz still fought back leading 75-74 in the fourth until the Warriors went on a 10-4 run and never looked back, winning 102-91.
Durant finished with 38 points and 13 rebounds and spoke about his performance saying, “Scoring and stuff is not easy, but it’s what I do the best. When I try to do the other things … I feel like it opens up my scoring a little bit more.”
Even though Stephen Curry finished with 23 points and hit key shots in the second half to pull away from the Jazz, both him and Klay Thompson shot poorly from the field, shooting a combined 7-for-29.
The Jazz’s starting point guard and third leading scorer in the playoffs, George Hill, has been out of action since Game 2 with a toe injury and his replacement, Shelvin Mack did all he could in his place, only scoring 11 points.
Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder said Hill’s injury is “really just a question of his effectiveness.” “There are situations in the game where he lands on it and pushes off and it just aggravates it. It aggravates it to a point where he’s just not able to be effective.”
Now down 3-0 and their season on the line, the Jazz will need to throw everything they have against the Warriors to stay alive or else their season will end May 8.