The Utah Jazz are the last team to beat the Golden State Warriors.
It wasn’t during their Western Conference semifinals series, which the Dubs swept on Monday, winning 121-95.
No, the Jazz beat the Warriors on April 10 as both teams held out key players. If Golden State — now 8-0 in the playoffs — had won that game, it would be winners of its last 24 games.
“It was important for us to close out this series,” Draymond Green told NBA TV after the game. “You never want to drag a series on and then all of a sudden you get knick-knack injuries and all those things. Close the series out, get that rest and then get ready for the next round.”
Which is exactly what the Warriors will do now as they wait for the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets to finish their series, which is knotted at two games apiece.
The Dubs closed out the Jazz much like how they dominated the entire series, by dominating all over the floor.
On offense, they pushed the pace, forcing Utah to play faster than it did during the regular season, when the Jazz played the slowest style in the NBA.
On defense, the Warriors continually forced their opponent off balance by switching screens and pestering ball handlers.
“You always hate when there’s that one guy up in your chest all game, you just want to swat him away,” acting head coach Mike Brown told reporters. “… That was our mentality, we wanted to try to make these guys as uncomfortable as possible.”
The series finale was the Warriors’ most complete performance of a completely impressive postseason.
They shot 51 percent from the field, 42 percent from deep and 89 percent from the line.
They threw 28 assists while committing just 11 turnovers.
On the other bench, the Jazz shot 37/30/75.
They assisted on 13 baskets while giving up possession nine times.
Utah’s stated goal going into the contest was to not allow the Warriors to take a huge first-quarter lead for the fourth-straight game in the series.
The Jazz trailed by 20 with 1:17 left in the first.
“I’m most impressed with how we’re playing our brand of basketball,” Green said. “… We’ve imposed our will all eight games.”
Green has been sensational over that span, culminating with a triple-double (17 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) in Game 4. He tied Tom Gola for the franchise record of most triple-doubles in the playoffs with three.
He was also essential to the Warriors playing the game at the speed they preferred, according to Brown. His ability to guard all five positions and push the ball after getting rebounds proved yet again an invaluable asset.
His feel for the game was on full display in the final seconds of the third quarter. After Stephen Curry (who scored a game-high 30 points) was forced to pass the ball, Green was able to find the open man, Andre Iguodala, for a buzzer-beating jumper, killing whatever residual spirit the Jazz had left.
Utah led for just 11 minutes, 55 seconds of the four-game set.
And the Warriors’ dominance has been mirrored by just the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State’s opponent in the Finals for the last two seasons, and the only other team in these playoffs to start 8-0.
“Not really looking at the team in Cleveland,” Brown said. “They’re going to do what they’re going to do.”