NBA Gameday: Series turns to Utah as Warriors seek critical Game 3 win

NBA Gameday: Series turns to Utah as Warriors seek critical Game 3 win

SALT LAKE CITY -- It’s often stated that Game 3 is the most important in a seven-game series, regardless of sport. The Warriors and Jazz are at that point.

Up 2-0 in this Western Conference semifinal series, the Warriors look to take a commanding 3-0 lead Saturday when the teams gather at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Pacific.

The Jazz, who lost each of the first two games by double-digit margins, will try to utilize the advantages of home. Only five NBA teams were better at home in the regular season than Utah, which was 29-12.


Warriors by 6.5


Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant vs. Gordon Hayward: Hayward bounced back from a poor Game 1 to produce a strong Game 2, scoring a game-high 33 points. He benefitted from Warriors complacency. That’s something Andre Iguodala and Thompson, in particular, vow to fix. They’ll try to contain Hayward while also exploiting his defense. Durant seems ready for a breakout game.


Warriors: F Draymond Green (L knee tweak) did not practice Friday but is available to play. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Jazz: G George Hill (L big toe sprain) was ruled out 90 minutes before tip-off. G Alec Burks (L knee recovery) is listed as out.


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 and 2. 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 15 of the last 17 meetings overall.


THE CROWD EFFECT: Jazz crowds are as notorious for subjecting opponents to abuse as they are for supporting their team. Given their chatter disparaging the relatively sparse local nightlife, the Warriors expect the worst. They’ve expressed the importance of a fast start in hopes of quieting the boisterous fan base.

THE PACE GAME: The Warriors in the first two games did a solid job of pushing tempo, dragging the Jazz into a faster pace. Aware that an uptempo game benefits them, the Warriors will continue that approach. They’ll want to be more careful with the ball than they were in Game 2, when they committed 17 turnovers.

THE DRAYMOND EFFECT: Draymond Green has been impactful at both ends in the Games 1 and 2, raining 3-pointers and piling up blocks and steals. He tweaked his knee late in Game 2, so his agility may be compromised. He says he’ll be fine. The Warriors expect him to play. His effectiveness is in question until he proves it’s not.

NBA rumors: Lakers less appealing to Jimmy Butler because of LeBron James


NBA rumors: Lakers less appealing to Jimmy Butler because of LeBron James

Jimmy Butler is currently a member of the Timberwolves.

But that may not be the case for much longer.

League sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski that Butler requested a trade from Minnesota.

Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Butler would prefer to be shipped to the Knicks, Nets or Clippers.

What about the Lakers?

Well, as Wojnarowski wrote on Wednesday afternoon:

Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James' arrival as the franchise's cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.

Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from Cleveland, Paul George stayed in OKC, there have been rumblings that Kawhi Leonard may prefer the Clippers over the Lakers and now this.

What does this say, if anything, about LeBron James? It's all certainly....... interesting.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steve Kerr concerned by lack of turnover on Warriors coaching staff


Steve Kerr concerned by lack of turnover on Warriors coaching staff

Let's take a look at the Warriors' assistant coaches since Steve Kerr arrived prior to the 2014-15 season:

-2014-15 -- Alvin Gentry, Luke Walton, Ron Adams
-2015-16 -- Luke Walton, Jarron Collins, Ron Adams
-2016-17 -- Mike Brown, Jarron Rollins, Ron Adams
-2017-18 -- Mike Brown, Jarron Collins, Ron Adams
-2018-19 -- Mike Brown, Jarron Collins, Ron Adams

As you can see, there hasn't been a single change in three seasons.

Additionally, player development coaches Bruce Fraser, Chris DeMarco and Willie Green have been on staff for several years.

Why does this matter?

The California Sunday Magazine recently published a conversation between Kerr and legendary head coach Phil Jackson.

One exchange between the two:

Jackson: "Have you made any additions to your coaching staff, Steve?"

Kerr: "No. We haven’t had much turnover at all the last couple of years, so that’s a concern as well. I think we could actually use a little bit of a change in that regard, but you can’t always dictate that."