By Kareem Copeland / The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY—The Splash Brothers—Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson—provided the fast start, and the Golden State Warriors made it a quick finish to the second round.
They’re four wins from another National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals appearance, and so far nobody can slow them down.
Curry scored 30 points, and Thompson, 21, and the Warriors completed a sweep of the Utah Jazz in their second-round NBA playoff series with a 121-95 victory on Monday night.
“We have a lot of talent,” Curry said. “We never know who is going to have a hot night.
“We try to move the ball, use each other to create open shots and when we do that, the ball is hopping and a lot of good things happen.”
The defending Western Conference champions have won both their series in four games and now await the winner of the Rockets-Spurs series that is tied at 2-2.
The Warriors kept pace with defending champion Cleveland in what has appeared like an inevitable third straight NBA Finals matchup. Both teams are 8-0 thus far.
“Steph was Steph and we fed off him,” Warriors interim Head Coach Mike Brown said.
Brown said before the game he hoped his team would get out to a fast start and the Warriors did exactly that. Golden State led 39-17 at the end of the first quarter after an onslaught from Thompson and Curry. They combined to shoot six for eight in the opening period.
Thompson finished with 21, Kevin Durant scored 18 and Draymond Green posted his third career postseason triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 25 points and Shelvin Mack chipped in 18.
“The most important thing was we imposed our will on the game and we had the game at our pace,” Green said.
Curry entered the game averaging 26.7 points in the playoffs, but Thompson had struggled against the Jazz. That ended on Monday.
Thompson rebounded from a six-point effort in Game Three with back-to-back jumpers out the gate. Curry then drained consecutive threes and the rout was on.
The Jazz started three for 16 from the field as Golden State hit from all areas and finished shooting 57.1 percent in the first quarter.
Curry picked up right where he left off after an 11-point fourth quarter in Game Three with a 14-point first quarter. He, Thompson and Green combined for 29 points in that first 12 minutes.
The Jazz tried to put off their vacation. They used a 14-0 run early in the second quarter, sparked by the suddenly active Dante Exum and Derrick Favors, to cut the lead to 10 points. Utah closed the half with a 12-2 run to trail 60-52 at halftime, but every time the Jazz made a significant run the rest of the way, the Warriors answered and pushed the lead back to double digits.
The Jazz never led Monday and in three of the four games against the Warriors.
Utah ended a four-year playoff drought. Hayward developed into an All-Star and Rudy Gobert became a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The addition of veterans George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw to the young corps of Hayward, Gobert, Favors, Hood and Joe Ingles turned into the team’s first second-round appearance since 2010.
“It’s been a unique arc for us,” Jazz Coach Quin Snyder said. “The adversity that kind of continued to rear its head and the way these guys dealt with it. It was apropos tonight.
“What happened, happened. We got blitzed.”
Warriors Coach Steve Kerr remains out after having a spinal-cord leak procedure at Duke University on Friday. There is no timetable for his return. Kerr had back surgery about two years ago and has been dealing with complications. Brown took over as acting coach for Game Three of the first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Image credits: AP