Warriors eliminate Jazz, sweep back-to-back series for first time ever

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Golden State Warriors swept the Utah Jazz to advance to the Western Conference finals for the third consecutive year, following a 121-95 victory on Monday night.

Along with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors are a perfect 8-0 this postseason. It is the second time that two teams have been undefeated entering the conference finals under the current playoff format (since 1983-84).

It is the first time the Warriors have swept two series in a postseason and the first time they have swept back-to-back series. Utah was stifled all evening, shooting a postseason-low 37.1 percent from the field.

"I thought for the most part we were in tune with what our coverages needed to be," acting head coach Mike Brown said. "One of the things we kept telling our guys: We didn't want them to be comfortable offensively. We wanted to get up into them and force the issue."

Stephen Curry produced a game-high 30 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists. He was 4-for-10 from beyond the arc and connected on all eight of his free throws.

Klay Thompson chipped in 21 points to bounce back from a 1-for-9 shooting night in Game 3. Kevin Durant followed his 38-point Game 3 by adding 18 points and six boards.

Draymond Green registered his third career postseason triple-double by way of 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. He also was a dominating force defensively. Opponents were 5-for-15 from the field when he guarded them, and he defended the most shots for the Warriors on Monday.

"We got the best defender in the league. You can't really pick on him. He's 6-4, 6-3 maybe," Durant said, jokingly misrepresenting Green's height. "But playing the center position, you still can't pick on him. You can’t throw the ball in the post and expect to get a basket or go at him on pick-and-rolls. He can switch out on them. I think that's what starts our defensive intensity -- it starts with him."

The Jazz were clearly overmatched in this series. Rudy Gobert played banged up. Starting point guard George Hill missed the last three games with a sore left toe. In these four games, the Jazz were beaten by an average of 15 points.

"I think we're just mostly impressed with how we're playing our brand of basketball," Green said. "I think every game throughout the course of this series, we really imposed our will on the other team, and that's big in the playoffs."

Utah coughed the ball up twice in the first two minutes of Game 4, handing over the momentum to a potent offense that jumped to a 12-3 lead. Jazz head coach Quin Snyder called timeout. The arena went mute, and then it got worse.

"I wish we would have started the game better," Snyder said. "But what happened happened. We got blitzed."

The Jazz were routinely limited to one shot, and they suffered a 6-for-25 first quarter that equated to a subpar 17 points. Green primarily initiated the offense by pushing it up court before shot-blocking specialist Gobert could roam the paint.

It looked as if this contest would be over by halftime. But Green said before the game that the Jazz wouldn’t just roll over and quit, and he was right.

"I told you," Green said. "I knew they were going to make some runs. That's what good teams do."

The home team flipped the script in the second quarter, holding the Warriors to 17 points. What was once a 24-point Warriors' advantage was trimmed to eight at intermission on the strength of a 35-19 Utah run fueled by former Jazz lottery pick Dante Exum. That hot streak got the crowd back into the game.

After a Shelvin Mack trey cut the margin to seven points with four minutes left in the third quarter, a timeout was called, and Curry uncharacteristically kicked one of the chairs on the bench out of a frustration.

Utah refused to quit.

But the Jazz weren't equipped to sustain the fight. Golden State closed the third on a 7-0 run capped by a buzzer-beating Andre Iguodala 3-pointer. The momentum was the Warriors', and it would not be relinquished. The uphill battle continued when Utah lost Rodney Hood to a right knee sprain after he collided with Durant early in the fourth quarter.

Golden State's lead climbed to 20, 25 and finally 26. Overall, the Warriors outscored the Jazz 53-32 over the last 19:35 of the game, after Utah cut the earlier 24-point deficit to five points with 7:35 left in the third quarter.

"Every game was physical, back and forth," Curry said. "They're obviously in a good position to be a much better team next year with the experience they had this year. It was a fight."

With the game nearly in the books, fans began chanting "Gordon Hayward, Gordon Hayward." He can become an unrestricted free agent this summer by opting out of the final year of his contract.

The Warriors will now wait for the winner of the series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. With their series tied at 2-2, those two teams are guaranteed to play at least two more games.

"We got a good thing going," Curry said. "We've been playing well on both ends of the floor, and tonight we had an opportunity to seal the deal, close out the series. We had to withstand a lot of runs ... but we came out on top and look forward to the next round."