By Janie Mccauley / The Associated Press
OAKLAND, California—Stephen Curry scored 22 points in three quarters of work and the top-seeded Golden State Warriors warmed up in a hurry after a weeklong layoff between playoff games, beating the Utah Jazz, 106-94, on Tuesday night in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.
Draymond Green scored Golden State’s first six points of the fourth quarter and wound up with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two more blocks to bring his remarkable five-game playoff swat total to 19.
Kevin Durant added 15 points on an uncharacteristically cold shooting night at six for 14 and also five rebounds and five assists. He missed the middle two games against Portland because of a strained left calf then returned for 20 minutes in Game Four. Zaza Pachulia scored 10 points in 14 minutes.
Rudy Gobert had 13 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and a Flagrant 1 foul on Green in the fourth for the Jazz, who just finished off the Clippers in a seven-game series on Sunday while the Warriors waited after eliminating Portland in a sweep on April 24.
Game Two in the best-of-seven series is Thursday night back at Oracle Arena, where it was a night of nostalgia as Golden State honored its 2007 “We Believe” team that ended a 13-year playoff drought and stunned Dallas in the first round.
Green insisted it might take the Warriors a quarter or so to find their rhythm as they finally got to play again. They weren’t sharp from three-point range while going seven for 29, with Klay Thompson making three of those on the way to 15 points.
The methodical, slow-you-down Jazz team making its first playoff appearance in five years under Coach Quin Snyder couldn’t keep pace in transition.
“Are we going to be good, or not good?” Snyder said beforehand, “because they’re going to be good.”
Interim Coach Mike Brown led the Warriors as they are missing reigning National Basketball Association Coach of the Year Steve Kerr, who wasn’t at the arena as he deals with complications from a pair of back surgeries nearly two years ago. He also missed the last two games of the Portland series.
Image credits: AP