SALT LAKE CITY -- Trying to remain unbeaten this postseason, the Warriors will try to complete a sweep of the Utah Jazz when the teams meet Monday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Warriors have won the first three games, all by double-digits, an average of 11.7 points. Not until Game 3 did Utah ever take a lead, going up nine in the third quarter, only to have it wiped out by the Warriors down the stretch and lose by 11.
Warriors by 8.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson vs. Gordon Hayward: Any chance the Jazz have of winning a game, much less getting back into the series, almost certainly lies with their All-Star small forward. So far, it has not mattered. With Joe Johnson quiet and George Hill hurting, it’s up to Hayward. Thompson’s offense has been subpar, but his defense has been crucial. As for Durant, well, he’s the riddle the Jazz cannot solve.
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.
Jazz: G George Hill (L big toe sprain) is listed as questionable, G Alec Burks (L knee recovery) is listed as out.
ROAD TO THE SERIES:
The Warriors finished the regular season with the league’s best record (67-15) and swept Portland in the first round.
The Jazz (51-31) finished with the No. 5 seed and in the first round eliminated the Clippers in seven games.
The Warriors posted wins in Games 1, 2 and 3. The teams met three times in the regular season, with the Warriors winning the first two games: 106-99 on Dec. 8 in Utah and 104-74 on Dec. 20 at Oracle Arena. The Jazz posted a 105-99 victory on April 10 at Oracle. The Warriors have won 16 of the last 18 meetings overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE START: The Warriors would like to recreate the incredible way they opened Game 4 in their first-round series at Portland. Going for the sweep, the never let the Blazers breathe. The goal in Salt Lake City is the same, to immediately crush the spirit of the Jazz, as well as their fans in the building.
KLAY’S OFFENSE: Thompson is averaging 11.7 points per game on 37 percent shooting. He’s due for a breakout. The Warriors have talked about generating ways to get his offense on the move. Look for more screen action, as well as designed plays to get open looks for Thompson.
THE JAZZ FIGHT: In the wake of losing Game 3, coach Quin Snyder and his players seemed on the brink of despair. There were sighs of resignation, and helplessness expressed through their voices and on their faces. Can they summon the will and production to compete?