Warriors

Warriors end Pelicans' season with dominant third-quarter outburst

Warriors end Pelicans' season with dominant third-quarter outburst

OAKLAND -- For one team, the Western Conference semifinals were a big-time measuring stick. For another, it was nothing more than a pit stop on a path to something much larger.

The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to build something. Their first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers is a starting point and the subsequent experience they picked up in round two is extremely valuable.

Their opponent has been to the top of the mountain, earning rings in two of the last three seasons. The Golden State Warriors aren’t playing for experience points, they are looking to cement their legacy as an NBA dynasty.

New Orleans came into Game 5 trailing 3-1 in the series. They had impressed with their grit and ability to make Golden State work on both ends of the court. They were hanging close to the high-powered Warriors through the intermission, but it’s tough to keep the World Champs under wraps for a full 48 minutes.

The Warriors stumbled to end the first half, giving away a 10-point lead in the final four minutes. Golden State bounced back to take a 59-56 halftime lead, which gave coach Steve Kerr the talking points he needed.

“The main message at halftime was, we’re doing great, we just had a couple of errors and you have to remind guys that, you know, the ball is everything,” Steve Kerr said. “A couple of turnovers can change the entire tone of a game.”

Golden State responded to the message and dropped the hammer on New Orleans coming out of the break. In the blink of an eye, the game and series were over.

“We had some bad possessions and then we missed some shots, and so all of the sudden, it’s 10-0 and you know how that goes,” Alvin Gentry said following the loss.

Fueled by the hot shooting of Stephen Curry, the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 36-19 in the third to take a commanding 20-point lead heading into the final frame.

Still working his way back into game shape after a missing more than five weeks of action, Curry dropped in 13 of his team-high 28 points in the quarter.

“Steph is starting to, I think, get his wind back and his legs back and they are just going to become better,” Gentry added.

Draymond Green shook off a slow start to post nine points in the quarter and Kevin Durant added eight of his 24 in a wild 12 minutes of up and down basketball.

“We generated good shots early and they didn’t go in, and we were very confident that if we continue to get those looks, they will go in at the right time and that’s what happened in the third,” Durant said.

Golden State let off the gas in the fourth quarter, allowing New Orleans to climb within striking distance. But in the end, the advantage coming out of quarter No. 3 was way too much to overcome.

With the win, the Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Finals for a fourth straight season. They’ll face a Houston Rockets team that finished off an injury-riddled Utah Jazz team earlier Wednesday evening.

Jonas Jerebko caps off impactful night vs. Jazz with memorable game-winner

Jonas Jerebko caps off impactful night vs. Jazz with memorable game-winner

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jonas Jerebko was feeling his way through his new team, showing up early, staying late and always projecting professionalism. Until Friday evening, he didn’t have much to show for his commitment.

His coming out could not have been timed any better for the Warriors, or for Jerebko. Facing the Jazz, for whom he played last season, in an arena he knows well, he made the play that saved what had been a long, treacherous night.

Jerebko’s tip-in of a Kevin Durant miss with 0.3 seconds remaining lifted the Warriors to a 124-123 victory, delighting his teammates and breaking hearts all over what had been a roaring throng at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

“It felt great,” Jerebko said. "Being back here, I had a great time here. To come back, I said I wanted a win, so it felt great.”

It looked even better. After Jerebko’s tip dropped in, he was mobbed by so many Warriors the bench was practically vacant. Because the clock showed zeroes, officials were busy determining how much time might be left. The Warriors in their celebration were almost oblivious to that.

Utah’s last shot, a prayer by Donovan Mitchell, hit the side of the backboard and the Warriors ran into the locker with the joy that comes with a stirring comeback.

“It was an amazing moment,” Stephen Curry said. Curry scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half, when the Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit.

“I didn’t see how he got to that position, to get the offensive rebound. It was a timely tip-in. Once I saw him go crazy, I knew time was almost out. It’s a great moment. He’s new to the team and made a big play, especially being back here in Utah.

“I know it’s early in the season, but these type of games are exciting and fun. We’re thankful to get the win, so we’ve got to celebrate accordingly.”

Jerebko’s game-winner capped off a night when he made a considerable impact. Coming off a scoreless six-minute stint in the season opener, Jerebko came off the bench with 5:03 left in the first quarter and took exactly 30 seconds to do what the Warriors wanted when they signed him as a free agent in July.

He drained a 3-pointer. He buried another triple with 2:45 left in the quarter on his way to 10 points and six rebounds over 24 minutes. Jerebko was 4-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-3 from deep.

“It’s always nice to see the first one go in,” Jerebko said. “But I feel real comfortable shooting the ball. I’ve got great players around me, so if I’m open I’m going to shoot it.”

The Warriors were trailing most of the second quarter, all of the third and for the first five minutes of the fourth. Kevin Durant, who scored 24 points in a lackluster first half for the Warriors,

Golden State needed everything it got from Jerebko, along with 38 points -- 24 in a marvelous first half -- from Durant and Curry’s scoring output. Draymond Green rallied from a fitful first 39 minutes to play a strong final nine, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

But this night belonged to Jerebko, who as a free agent signed a one-year deal in July. Everyone in the locker room was smiling, but no one’s grin was bigger than his.

“He’s one of us,” Kerr said. “Anytime you’re a new guy with a team, you’re trying to make your mark. You do it in practice by going hard. You do it with your work ethic.

“But as soon as you hit a game-winner, that pretty much solidifies it.”

The Warriors need Jerebko to provide scoring off the bench. He did on Friday.

And he did it with style.

 

Klay Thompson reminds Jazz they cut Jonas Jerebko after buzzer beater

Klay Thompson reminds Jazz they cut Jonas Jerebko after buzzer beater

Minutes after Jonas Jerebko broke his former teammates' hearts with a game-winning, buzzer-beating tip-in on Friday night, Warriors guard Klay Thompson reminded the Utah Jazz of something.

The Jazz could have kept the 31-year-old Swede ... not that they needed another reminder. 

Utah waived Jerebko on July 7, one year after he signed a two-year contract with the team. Five days later, his deal with the Warriors was official.

Jerebko played just under 24 minutes against his old club, scoring 10 points (on 4-of-5 shooting), with six rebounds, a steal, and an assist.  His ninth and tenth points -- and his sixth rebound -- were the difference on Friday. 

The Jazz got more salary-cap space when they cut him, but Jerebko got the last laugh on Friday.