OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors have been preaching the significance of controlling the pace in their second round matchup against the Utah Jazz. Acting head coach Mike Brown doubled-down in game 2 to ensure that the pace would remain in the Warriors favor.
After the Jazz trimmed the Warriors’ double-digit lead down to just seven, Brown inserted Andre Iguodala for Zaza Pachulia, who scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in just 9 minutes of play.
The move by Brown acted as a pick me up for Golden State.
“He made an adjustment to try to get the pace back up,” said Steph Curry of Brown’s third quarter lineup adjustment. “That's usually our bread and butter so we can turn stops into transition buckets.”
The Warriors bolted out to a 12-3 run to begin the game and looked poised to put the Jazz to sleep early after a dominating first quarter in which Utah mustered just 15 points.
“I think the game has an ebb and a flow,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said, “and they blitzed us so strong early.”
However, Utah did not fold like a cheap plastic lawn chair. The Jazz played a more uptempo style in game two and forced the Warriors into 17 turnovers, which turned into 22 points for the Jazz. Golden State at times played loose which allowed Utah to go on mini runs throughout the game.
“You have to finish out the game, finish out quarters, finish out possessions, not lose focus at all and just keep your foot on the gas pedal,” added Curry. “But this is the Playoffs. You're not going to blow a team out every night. It's going to be a dog fight until the end.”
Curry finished with 23 points and seven assists. Kevin Durant scored a team-high 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists of his own. However all eyes were on Draymond Green, yet again.
Green connected on his first four three-point attempts and tied his career-high with five made three-pointers in the first half alone. He also recorded seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Not to mention incredible defense on just about every player in a Jazz uniform.
“He’s locked in on both sides of the ball,” said Curry of Green. “You add in the three-point game and his playmaking ability, he's doing a lot right now. He understands the moment.”
Green has connected on 18-of-33 (54%) three-point attempts this post season and credits his extra work in the gym with trainer Travis Walton to his recent shooting surge.
“Since the beginning of April we've just been in the gym every single day. Getting a lot of extra shots up and just really seeing that ball go in the hoop every day and raising that confidence level. It's been working for me.”
Green is the man the Jazz can live with shooting the ball in comparison to gunslingers like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. But if Green can continue to shoot the ball even remotely as well as he has through the first six games of the post season, then the Warriors will continue to be unstoppable.