Basketball

Durant on fire as Warriors down Jazz

Kevin Durant scored 38 points and picked up 13 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors withstood a determined Utah effort to down the Jazz 102-91 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

With the victory, the Warriors take a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference second-round play-off series and will try to close it out in Game Four in Salt Lake City tomorrow morning.

Durant did a little bit of everything through four quarters. He drained step-back and fadeaway jumpers, cut to the rim for lay-ups and buried timely three-pointers.

The former NBA MVP didn't merely experience a good shooting night. He scorched the nets for the better part of 48 minutes.

He said: "I try to use my length and shoot over guys.

"(Rudy) Gobert is a load down there in the paint, so I know I just can't go in there and throw up anything. I just try to be cerebral every time down, but also be aggressive and my teammates open it up a lot for me."

The Jazz had hoped a return to their home floor would spark a resurgence, and it briefly looked as if it had.

Although the Warriors got off to another fast start, leading by 10 after the first quarter, the Jazz, fuelled by a standout performance from French centre Gobert, responded.

They seized the lead for the first time in the series when they went up 48-47 in the second period, and led 50-49 at half-time.

The hosts stretched their lead to as many as nine in the third quarter before the Warriors reasserted themselves.

Durant did the heavy lifting as Stephen Curry connected on just six of 20 shots en route to 23 points and Klay Thompson made just one basket in scoring six points.

Trailing 75-74 early in the fourth, the Warriors launched a 10-4 scoring run to regain a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The Warriors outscored the Jazz by nine points in the final four minutes, Curry warming up late to contribute to the surge with a three-pointer that made it 89-84.

On the next possession, Durant came off a screen and drained a pull-up three over Gobert to make it 92-84.

Not long after, Durant and Gobert were involved in a testy exchange, with Durant called for a flagrant foul and a technical. Gobert, however, missed both free throws.

Gobert finished the night with 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who were led by Gordon Hayward's 29 points but still find themselves one defeat away from elimination. 
- WIRE SERVICES

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