As Warriors Try to Keep Pace With Cavs, a Sweep Over the Jazz Looms

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Warriors wanted to sweep the Jazz from the get-go and that desire only strengthened Sunday, when the Cavaliers pulled off their second consecutive postseason sweep.

No, no, no, the Warriors don't want any part of even the slightest appearance of being less formidable than that bunch in Cleveland.

So the Sweep looms. The Jazz know this, as do their most rabid fans. Utah coach Quin Snyder, projecting the visage of a beaten man, most certainly knows this.

"I don't want to be too dramatic or to fatalistic," Snyder said after his team's 102-91 loss to the Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday night. "It's obvious when you're down 0-3 what's going on next game."

More than 100 NBA teams have faced a 0-3 deficit, and none has ever come back to win the series. The Warriors take a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 Monday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Though they also believe this Western Conference semifinal series is over, and that a sweep is the likeliest outcome, they can't say it out loud. Out of respect.

So, instead, they talk about how winning Game 4 and advancing to the conference finals is hardly a sure thing. This is what real competitors have to do, even when the writing stretches from the floor to the wall to sky. They never, ever take an opponent for granted, even when that opponent has run out of options and is contemplating the fetal position.

"They're not going to give up," Kevin Durant said Sunday. "They've got a great crowd as well. So they're going to try to feed off that.

"The series is far from over. Whoever wins four games usually wins in these situations. So we've got to figure out a way to get that fourth game."

While Durant's math is correct, his professional consideration toward the Jazz rang hollow. He, more than any of his teammates, realizes he can do as he pleases against Utah, and do it about as often as he likes.

The Warriors have won the first three games of this series with about 75 percent of their capability. They've owned things without their "A" game. The Jazz, if anything, have to know the beatings could be so much worse.

Consider that Durant, who missed roughly seven of the last nine weeks of action with two different injuries, is only now finding his basketball rhythm. His 38-point, 13-rebound effort in Game 3 was an exhibition of domination.

Consider that Klay Thompson's defense in this series has been as remarkable as his offense has been invisible. He's averaging 11.7 points per game, on 37.1-percent shooting.

Consider that Stephen Curry is 9-of-23 from 3-point distance, that Andre Iguodala is 2-of-12 beyond the arc and that Warriors as a team are shooting 33.3 percent from deep -- well below their 38.3 percent mark in the regular season. And while some of this may be the result of Utah defense, much of it is simply open shots that don't fall.

The Warriors have been winning in a trot.

And they're not about to trot in Game 4.

This is not to suggest there will be another instant blowout, as was the case in Game 4 of the first-round series against Portland. The Warriors went after the Trail Blazers with a vengeance rarely seen in the regular season and never seen in the first three games of that series. Three minutes after tipoff they were up 14-0, and less than three minutes later they had a 28-5 lead.

The Warriors were piranha-like in their fury, partly because they wanted to end the series and partly because, well, this was one day after the Cavaliers had dispatched the Pacers in a sweep of their first-round series.

The scenario, in that regard, is similar. And don't think the Warriors aren't aware.

"We had a phenomenal start, especially in Portland," acting head coach Mike Brown recalled. "We'd love to duplicate that.

"But I don't know if the Jazz are going to let us do that. They're tough-minded, Quin is a great coach, the crowd's going to be into it, and so it's going to be a tough contest. For us to try to go out there (Monday night) and duplicate what we did in Portland is definitely the goal."

The brooms will be in the hands of Warriors fans and in the minds of the players. The Jazz are in trouble, with no way out.

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us