The Warriors arent going to be around for a while. Withtonights game at Denver, they begin a long stretch on the road, one that wontsee them back at Oracle Arena till Oct. 23 against Phoenix.The Warriors will be in Sacramento on Wednesday for a gameagainst the Kings, and then head to Portland for a game Friday against theBlazers and L.A. for a game against the Clippers on Monday.Warriors coach Mark Jackson could have elected to returnhome after Mondays game in Denver, but decided to stay on the road and itwill end up being more than a week on the road for Golden State.I think its very important for us to experience a longroad trip, for us to bond with each other, Jackson said. In an ideal world wewould have gone away for training camp, just to be around one another more so.I think this is an opportunity to take advantage of that. Wevery easily could have come home after the Denver game and gone day of (onWednesday) to Sacramento. Its going to be a great time for us to be togetheron the road.This is the fourth preseason game for the Warriors (3-0).They play eight preseason games before opening the regular season at Phoenix onOct. 31.Jackson thinks the time away from home will help in the longrun.I think overall (it helps), everybody, most important forthe rookies, Jackson said. The veterans know what to expect, but I think ithelps everybody to get back into the rhythm of what its going to take, thedemand on your body mentally andphysically to finish out this season.
LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Utah controlled the paint, and the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Hayward returned after missing most of Utah's win in Game 4 because of food poisoning that caused him to lose weight and energy.
Chris Paul's 3-pointer drew the Clippers within two with 5 seconds left. After George Hill hit two free throws, Paul struggled getting the ball under control near the sideline and couldn't do anything as time expired.
The Jazz made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including three by Rodney Hood, who finished with 16 points.
The Jazz can clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.
The Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth to tie the game. They made 12 of 15 free throws in the final period, but never managed to take the lead.
Paul and Hayward were called for double technical fouls with 40 seconds to go. Paul had already pushed Hayward in the back after they got tied up scrambling for a rebound in front of Utah's bench. Hayward made both shots for a 90-85 lead.
Joe Johnson's step back jumper extended Utah's lead to 92-87.
Neither team shot well, but the Jazz were better at most everything else. They owned a 34-28 edge in the paint, and the team that has done so has won each of the first five games in the best-of-7 series.
Utah outscored the Clippers on second-chance and fast-break baskets.
Utah took the game's first double-digit lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Hood that made it 69-58.
The Clippers clawed back with an 11-0 run featuring five straight free throws by Redick and two consecutive 3-pointers from Paul that tied the game at 69-all.
Suddenly, the quiet crowd was on its feet cheering and Utah called time out.
The Jazz regrouped to take a 77-69 lead. They ran off eight straight, capped by Haywood's 3-pointer after the Clippers' defense shut down Hill inside and forced him to pass out to the perimeter with the shot clock winding down.
Jazz: Neither team has won by more than eight points so far in the series.
Clippers: Griffin's injured big right toe needs further evaluation before it's decided whether he'll require surgery. ... G Austin Rivers played 17 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was 0 of 4 and had two points. ... They fell to 1-11 all-time in Game 5 of a playoff series that was tied 2-2.
Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.
Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.
But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.
A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.
He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.
The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.
Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.
Neil Olshey makes it clear: Festus Ezeli will not be on the roster next season.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 25, 2017