Game Preview: Warriors vs. Jazz – 4/10/17

TWO TO GO
The Warriors have won 14 games in a row, and will look to extend that streak one game further when they host the Utah Jazz on Monday night. This will be the third and final matchup between the two teams this season after Golden State prevailed in both of their first two encounters back in December. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Watch the action on NBC Sports Bay Area, or listen to the call on 95.7 The Game on the Warriors Radio Network.

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LAST TIME OUT
Kevin Durant played his first game since late February and the Warriors picked up their 14th straight win with a 123-101 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Full Recap

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW
66-14
1st in West
116.2 PPG (1st)
44.3 RPG (9th)
30.5 APG (1st)

UTA

49-31
T-4th in West
100.7 PPG (28th)
43.3 RPG (18th)
20.0 APG (28th)

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PROJECTED STARTERS

GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia

UTA: Dante Exum, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES

GSW: Stephen Curry (left knee contusion) is probable. Kevon Looney (left hip strain) is doubtful. Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain) is out. Damian Jones (D-League assignment) is not with team. Team Notes

UTA: George Hill (right groin strain), Raul Neto (left ankle sprain) and Gordon Hayward (left quadriceps contusion) are TBD. Team Notes

HE’S BACK
The Warriors got the win over the Pelicans on Saturday, but perhaps the best news to come out of that game was Kevin Durant’s return to game action after missing the previous 19 games due to a knee injury. Durant opened the scoring with a slam dunk and would go on to lead all Warriors players in minutes played (31) and rebounds (10). “I wasn’t sure how many minutes we’d play him,” said Steve Kerr following the victory. “We were kind of basing it on how tired he looked. His conditioning was great. I thought, as the game went on, he found a good rhythm and it was a really good night for him and for us.” Golden State is currently in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season, but Durant’s return has to be a boon to both their spirits and overall strength as a basketball team. With two games remaining in the regular season, Durant has a couple more chances to work out any kinks before what the Warriors hope will be a long postseason run.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW
PTS: Curry (25.3)
REB: Durant (8.3)
AST: Green (7.1)

UTA

PTS: Hayward (22.0)
REB: Gobert (12.8)
AST: Hill (4.1)

UTAH SCOUTING REPORT
Even though they only have two games left on their regular season slate, the Jazz still have plenty to play for. They know they’ll face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, but the question remains as to who will have homecourt advantage in that series. At 49-31, they’re currently tied with Los Angeles for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, although the Clippers hold the tiebreaker having already won the season series between the teams. Only the Mavericks and Grizzlies average fewer points per game than the Jazz, but Utah has held their opponents to an average of 96.7 points per contest so far this season, easily tops in the league. Both Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Golden State’s Draymond Green are amongst the leading candidates in the extremely tight race for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, and a head-to-head matchup at the very end of the season could potentially prove the difference in the mind of voters. Monday’s matchup also offers the possibility of a second round playoff preview if both teams were to advance that far, so expect another hard-fought affair in which points are tough to come by on both ends.

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