SALT LAKE CITY -- It took the Golden State Warriors a little time before imposing their will, but Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry led the charge in the fourth quarter to secure a 102-91 victory on Saturday over the Utah Jazz to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Durant posted a game-high 38 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Curry registered 23 points on a subpar 6-of-20 shooting night. But Curry and Durant each contributed 11 points in the final quarter, marking the first time that both reached double figures in the fourth quarter of the same game as teammates.
"When [Durant] started getting going early, I felt like it could be a big night for him, and it was," acting head coach Mike Brown said.
Durant is the first Warriors player with 25 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive playoff games since Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond in 1972.
Utah stayed in the game for much of the evening, unlike the first two matches with Golden State. However, down the stretch, back-to-back 3-pointers by Curry and Durant with three minutes left gave the Warriors an out-of-reach eight-point advantage.
With the Warriors going away from their ball-movement offense and resorting to isolation sets, it contributed mightily to why the Jazz were able to hang around. Golden State produced a postseason-low 17 assists. Its lowest total prior to Saturday was 25. But the Warriors also had only seven turnovers, with none in the second half.
"That's the story of the game," Durant said.
Draymond Green was 7-of-13 from downtown in the first two meetings. On Saturday night, he missed all three of his treys.
Emotions were high.
With two minutes to go in the first half, Green picked up his third personal foul, much to his dismay. He was pulled before having words with the officials. On his way to the bench, a heckling section of fans caught his attention.
Green was seen making a 2-0 gesture with his right hand, to remind them that the Warriors had a 2-0 series lead.
"Yeah, they were booing me pretty loud," Green said. "I think there's some places I go where I definitely should be booed. I don't know if this is one of them. I've never really had any beef with any players on the Jazz or done anything wrong to them. So, I don't know why they were booing me so loud, but I just reminded them they were down 2-0. Like, stop booing me like that. But it's fun."
Moments later, he was hit with a technical from the bench for his continued shouting at the refs. It was Green's first technical foul of the postseason.
"I said, 'Bennie [Adams], that's bulls---,'" Green revealed. "If that's really losing control of your emotions, then I don't know."
After a Rodney Hood 3-point field goal with a minute to play before the break, the Jazz took a 48-47 lead. It was their first lead of the series. They would lead by as many as nine in the second half.
At the half, Durant was the only Warrior in double-digit scoring with 22 points. The next closest was reserve Andre Iguodala who had six of his 11 points in the first half. Curry and Klay Thompson were a combined 3-of-13 from the floor for nine points.
Thompson finished the game with six points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field.
Curry drained his first triple of the game late in the third quarter after missing his first six attempts. That got him going, resulting in his fourth-quarter outburst. The Warriors outscored the Jazz 30-21 in the fourth quarter, with the Jazz never leading by more than a point.
"You've just got to see one go in and never lose confidence in your shot," Curry said. "Never lose your aggressiveness, and the shot that started it was one that most other people would not try to shoot to get yourself going in transition. But that's one I take all the time, and I expect to make it."
Gordon Hayward scored 29 points and dished out six assists for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert tallied 21 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks. Both Hayward and Gobert were victimized by Durant's offense, as Durant was 6-of-8 from the field (2-of-2 on 3s) against Hayward and 5-of-8 from the field (2-of-3 on 3s) against Gobert. Durant scored 26 of his 38 points against those two.
A minor altercation occurred with 1:24 remaining in the contest, when Durant appeared to have shoved Gobert in the back on a box-out opportunity. The two squared up on one another and had to be separated.
Durant was assessed a technical foul and a flagrant foul 1. Hayward made the technical free throw, and Gobert missed both of his free throws. By then, the game was out of reach.
Gobert's recollection of the incident was, "I pushed him to get the ball and he didn't like it."
"It's just basketball," Durant said. "You push me, I pushed him, and you move on. But that's why they call our league soft ... because they call a flagrant for stuff like that.
"But I'm sure he didn't mind if we just moved on. I didn't mind if we just moved on with the play."
The Warriors have now won 22 of their past 23 games, going back to the regular season. The potential closeout game is Monday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit (0-for-123). Golden State has yet to lose in the playoffs.