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Warriors @ Jazz Preview: Only Boring People Get Bored

Warriors look to push Utah to the brink in a pivotal game three

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors
Fo’
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

What: Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz (Warriors lead series 2-0)

When: 5:30pm PST (note the early start!)- Saturday 5/6

TV: ABC

Blog Buddy: SLC dunk

Ok, be honest: you’re already thinking ahead to the eventual matchup with Lebron James aren’t you? It’s cocky, and yet an outlook that is understandable. But watching these historic Warriors hone their mettle on the Western conference elite continues to be far from boring.

The Warriors don’t have the luxury of looking ahead just now, as they head into Utah knowing that they should win though...it’s hard to deny the broader picture emerging - these initial rounds are just a prelude to the heavyweight fight.

“Don't give Utah life.”

Those were the words that Steve Kerr relayed to his team prior to game 2. The Warriors took Kerr’s advice and seized a 2-0 lead behind an insane 33-15 first quarter led by Draymond Green’s 12 points (on 4-of-5 from three). In the course of that first quarter, the Warriors slapped up Utah with runs of 12-3 to open the quarter and then 14-2 to close it.

Like a good karate punch, the Warriors are playing through the Utah Jazz, seeking not just to punch them, but to punch through them.

Speaking of Green’s shooting

The Warriors have not trailed in this series. Over the course of two games, Utah has never led by a single point. They have elected to mostly help off Green and Iguodala, something that we will likely see more and more of if Iguodala doesn’t find his three point shot. While Iguodala’s deep shot has been completely absent this series, Draymond Green’s three point shooting is a big reason that it hasn’t mattered much as of yet (ok, and I admit, I just want to throw some shade at James Harden here).

The Jazz

Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert stepped up in game 2, but they’ll need to do that again for game three, as well as getting extra help from someone else. Shelvin Mack did okay starting for injured PG George Hill, but his 14 points were the only other double digit scorer besides Hayward and Gobert. Matched against the cumulative firepower of the Warriors, it’s just not going to be enough unless they can somehow be more effective defensively.

The Hayward / Gobert pick-and-roll has forced McGee out of the rotation a little bit. Surprisingly, it has been David West who has stepped in to fill the gap, but in the end, Gobert is just the better player. Our committee of centers has their hands full containing Gobert, and the wings are doing their best with Hayward...and that’s been enough. If the Jazz want to win game three, it’s going to take a role player to play exceptionally well, in addition to the stars of the team.

Injury report

Warriors: Draymond Green is listed as “probable” with a left knee “tweak” (that’s the official medical term, apparently!). Kevon Looney is still out, and I’m just going to stop updating it. Assume Looney is done for the year unless you hear otherwise.

Jazz: George Hill (toe) is “questionable” to play against the Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday. Apparently this has been a lingering issue for a while, but if he can play (and be effective) it would be immensely helpful to the Jazz’s efforts. The problem with those toe injuries is that it affects your acceleration and mobility, problems that would directly affect ones ability to adequately cover a guy like Stephen Curry.

Prediction

I think this will be the tightest game of the series, but the Warriors eke out a win, 104-99.

Finally, none of you bums managed to pick the first round correctly, so my offer of a custom Duby-designed shirt is still floating out there. I’ll figure out a contest soon so that we can get this thing done - let me know if you have any ideas!

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