The Warriors are a perfect 7-0 this postseason and are favored to make it two sweeps in a row Monday night (9 p.m. ET) in Salt Lake City versus the Jazz. Odds were +120 prior to the series Golden State would win in four. Do they?
Kevin Durant exploded for 38 points, 13 rebounds, and an assist, steal, and block in Saturday night’s 102-91 Game 3 victory over the Jazz. The former NBA MVP shot 15-of-26 from the field against one of the league’s best defenses. It was the sixth time in his brief Golden State career scoring 35 points or more in a contest. Durant’s postseason breakout performance is an ominous sign for the Jazz. The Warriors are 18-0 SU and 13-5 ATS versus opponents after Durant scores 28 points or more in a prior matchup.
Despite Durant’s brilliant individual performance, it was another all-around amazing team effort by the Warriors, especially late. The defense is the unsung hero, and it made the difference. Golden State held the Jazz to 41 points in the second half on less than 40 percent shooting. Offensively, the ball movement was sublime and virtually mistake-free. Golden State posted zero turnovers in the second half. In fact, it gifted seven all game, tying a franchise playoff low for the third time this postseason.
The Warriors hold a 3-0 series lead and are favored to sweep. If history is to judge, expect the brooms to come out. In the last 15 years, one-seeds entering Game 4 undefeated in the NBA playoffs are 16-5 SU (10-10-1 ATS), All five defeats occurred in a nine game sample where the top seed went off the underdog or as a short-priced favorite of 4.5 points or less. Expect the Warriors’ line to close above this threshold. The odds are not set as of publication, but books opened Golden State a 5.5-point favorite in Game 3, adjusting to as high as -7.5 at some shops prior to tip.
What can the Jazz do to extend the series? Seems like nothing. The Warriors thwart everything they do well. Offensively, Utah is unable to penetrate the basket regularly. Points in the paint are key for head coach Quin Snyder. On defense, its inability to slow Golden State’s transition game each night is the biggest crutch. Golden State, despite slowed somewhat, are still passing the century mark every game. The Jazz are 9-24 SU and 7-25-1 ATS when allowing 102 points or more this season. Golden State scored less than this seven times all season.
The Warriors are 18-2 SU and 13-7 ATS in their last 20 round one and round two NBA postseason contests. Out of the 18 victories, all but one was by six points or more. Expect Golden State to advance to the Conference championship Monday night, and in style. Lay the points.