Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Curry leads Warriors to rout of Jazz, series sweep

LESSONS LEARNED:The Golden State star downplayed suggestions that their undefeated run in the post-season would be a liability, saying they have faced proud teams

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, center, lays the ball up over the Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward, left, and Dante Exum in the first half of Game 4 of their NBA Playoffs semi-final series in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday.

Photo: AP

Stephen Curry on Monday scored 30 points as the Golden State Warriors wrapped up a series sweep with a 121-95 rout of the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors advanced to a Western Conference finals showdown against either Houston or San Antonio after overcoming a fleeting Utah rally to take the series 4-0 at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena.

It was a second consecutive 4-0 series victory for the Warriors, who also notched a sweep against Portland in the opening round of the playoffs.

“We gotta good thing going, we’re playing well,” Curry said.

“Tonight we had an opportunity to seal the deal and thankfully we came out on top,” he added, praising the Warriors’ all-round offensive display.

“That’s our approach to every game. We don’t know who’s going to have a hot night. We want to keep that going,” he said.

The Warriors laid the foundation for the victory with a devastating first-quarter performance that saw them pour on 39 points to open up a double-digit lead against a shell-shocked Utah.

“Guys really came out focused,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green, who had a triple-double. “We knew what the game plan was and executed that game plan. I think the most important thing, though, is we imposed our will on the game. We had the game at our pace.”

The Jazz battled back to reduce the deficit to eight points at halftime to 60-52.

Utah remained in touching distance throughout the third period, but the Warriors always looked capable of finding an extra gear when it mattered.

The decisive period came at the end of the third period, when both Curry and Andre Iguodala both hit three-pointers in quick succession to help the Dubs pull away to 93-79 heading into the fourth quarter.

That burst of scoring was a foretaste of what was to follow in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors pulling further clear to wrap up victory by a 26-point margin.

Curry was one of five Warriors players to hit double figures, with Klay Thompson adding 21 points and Kevin Durant 18. Green added 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for a triple-double.

For Utah, Gordon Hayward top-scored with 25 points, while Shelvin Mack had 18 and Dante Exum 15.

Curry downplayed the suggestion that the Warriors might suffer deeper into the playoffs after romping through the first two rounds without dropping a game.

“Every team that we’ve played had a lot of pride,” Curry said. “We haven’t lost, but within these games we’ve really had to check ourselves.”

“You can learn lessons through winning and that’s what we’ve done,” Curry added.

Jazz star Hayward, who might have played his last game for the team as he prepares for free agency, said Utah had been defeated by a “historically great team.”

“They make you pay for your mistakes,” Hayward told reporters. “You have to be almost perfect every possession, or else they turn it into a 9-0 run or 10-0 run.”

“You can’t have one mental lapse against them. This was a great learning experience for us. They showed why they are who they are, and we’re not quite there yet, but you have to take positives from it,” he added.

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