Sacramento’s native Matt Barnes warms up with his Golden State Warriors before the team took on the Utah Jazz at the Oracle on May 4, 2017. Barnes signed with the team as a free agent on March 2. (OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors now have a 6-0 record in the NBA playoffs after beating the visiting Utah Jazz 115-104 in Game 2 of the Second Round.

Kevin Durant had 25 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists for the Warriors (2-0). Stephen Curry added 23 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Durant, Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala combined for 30 of the Warriors’ 33 assists. Golden State also outrebounded the Jazz 47-39.

Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown is now 4-0 since taking the position while Steve Kerr is sidelined indefinitely from spinal fluid leakage. Brown said Game 2 was difficult for the Warriors.

“It wasn’t easy. We felt it,” Brown said. “We know we can play better. We broke down in some areas where we should have been better. We had 33 assists. We held them to five offensive rebounds, and then at the end of the day we got the W.”

Gordon Hayward had a game-high 33 points to go along with five rebounds, and four assists. Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz (0-2). Shelvin Mack contributed 14 points and four assists.

The Warriors get great starts against the Jazz, but can’t seem to put them away. Utah managed to come back to cut Golden State’s lead to seven points on two different occasions, despite falling behind by 20 points in the first half.

“I think after we got blitzed there in the first quarter, and once we settled in and kind of figured it out a little bit, we figured out how to get into the paint. Our spacing was a lot better. We’re going to have to take that and move forward with it.”

Green left for the locker room with 7:24 left in the fourth quarter after going down to the floor with “locked knees,” but he returned to court with 5:16 on the clock. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

“I knew my knee was locking up a little bit,” Green said after the game. “I had it before. A little tweak. It wasn’t like a sigh of relief because I knew what was from the jump. But obviously it’s always good to know you’re okay.”

The Warriors got the ball rolling by making 5-of-6 shots to open up the first quarter. They led 12-3 before Jazz head coach Quin Snyder called a timeout with 9:20 left. The small break in the action didn’t help the Jazz, either.

The Warriors were basically knocking down all the ducks in a row. Golden State made 14 of 23 shots in the first quarter at 60.9 percent and led 33-15 after the first 12 minutes. Green led with 12 points. The Jazz were 5-for-17 from the floor at 29.4 percent.

The Warriors led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter and had a 60-47 margin at the half. Golden State made 25-of-44 shots from the floor in the first half while the Jazz made a manageable 18-for-37 from the field. Each team had nine turnovers.

The Jazz cut the Warriors lead 63-57 early in the third quarter on a basket by Johnson. Golden State pushed the lead up 85-70 after Curry made a step-back 3-point shot with 2:52 left in the quarter. Matt Barnes made a basket with 0.9 second on the clock to give the Warriors a 92-82 lead going into the final quarter.

Rodney Hood’s basket late in the game cut the Warriors’ margin by seven points, but the Jazz never got any closer. Utah missed a couple shots, a trey by Hood and one under the basket by Gobert, that could have put them over the hump.

The Utah Jazz has failed to get a lead in 96 minutes against the Warriors. Snyder hopes that changes in back in Utah for Game 3 and Game 4. Game three is Saturday, May 6, in Salt Lake City.

“I think we have to start the game better,” Snyder said. “Hopefully, we can do that at home. I didn’t realize it during the entire two games. We want to try to be ahead at the end, and against these guys, if you don’t start well, you’re climbing an uphill battle.”

Sacramento native Matt Barnes was in uniform for the second time in the playoffs for the Warriors. Barnes missed the last two games of the regular season and all four games against the Portland Trail Blazers in the First Round of the playoffs. Barnes entered the game with 1:02 left in the third quarter against the Jazz. Golden State was up by 13 points when Barnes stepped on the floor.
The Jazz were without starting point guard George Hill who was out with left big toe soreness. Shelvin Mack started in Hill’s position.
ESPN Stats and Information reported that the Warriors have posted a +16.8 per game differential through five games in the postseason. Golden State beat the Jazz by 12 points in Game 1 and by 11 in Game 2 The Jazz has yet to lead in 96 minutes against the Warriors in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs.
Warriors had (30) assists against the Jazz in Game 2.

By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer