Spurs-Warriors: Game 3 preview

Jackson: 'We've got to continue to get better'

Spurs-Warriors: Game 3 preview
May 9, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Stephen Curry is averaging 26.5 points, 8.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 3.9 three-pointers and 42.5 minutes per game this postseason. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

If the Warriors and their fans feel like they’re in a familiar position right now it’s because they are. For the second consecutive playoff series, the Warriors have bounced back from an excruciating Game 1 loss and come up with a monster Game 2 win.

And just like that, the Warriors are once again in the driver’s seat, only now it’s in the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Warriors’ 100-91 win over the Spurs on Wednesday night in San Antonio was just another in a line of victories this postseason that have left many NBA observers scratching their heads and wondering: How far can the Warriors go?

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After Klay Thompson dropped 34 points on the Spurs, including an impressive 8-for-9 performance from 3-point range, the answer seems to be: As far as their long-range shooting will take them.

But it’s more than just shooting from beyond the arc, truth be told. The Warriors are doing lots and lots of things well in this postseason, including defending, rebounding and playing with a poise beyond their collective years.

The Warriors and Spurs are even 1-1 in their best-of-seven series, but now it shifts to Oracle Arena -- one of the most difficult road environments for any NBA team.

The Warriors are 7-1 at Oracle Arena in their last two postseason appearances and haven’t lost in Oakland yet in this year’s playoffs.

This is the same recipe the Warriors used to dispatch the Denver Nuggets in Round 1. In that series, Golden State lost a heartbreaker of a Game 1 –- on a late bucket by Andre Miller –- and then came back and put on a clinic in Game 2 and taking control of that series.

Ditto in this series. The Warriors dropped a brutal Game 1 to the Spurs on Monday, blowing a 16-point lead with four minutes left in regulation before eventually losing 129-127 in double overtime. While many began counting the Warriors out after that egregious giveaway, coach Mark Jackson and the players simply came back two days later and played a better game. Just like they did after the tough loss in Denver.

Thompson set the tone in Game 2 with a head-spinning shooting performance. He scored 29 of his career-high 34 points in the first half, putting the Spurs into a deep hole for the second straight game.

Thompson’s long-range shooting -– along with the threat of Stephen Curry’s shooting –- created all kinds of space and open lanes for their teammates. And once again, those teammates came through in a big way. Rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, who started in Game 2, continue to be positive factors in multiple areas.

Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack did their veteran things, too, which have become a major theme this year for the Warriors. When the Warriors come through late in games this season, Jack is often the one coming through. His two clutch jumpers late in Game 2 helped stave off San Antonio runs and give the Warriors an encouraging win.

Now, the Spurs and Warriors come back to Oracle, with the Spurs needing to steal a game in Oakland -– though we know that’s easier said than done.

Yep, this Warriors’ series against San Antonio is looking very similar to the Warriors’ series against Denver. If the pattern continues on Friday, it’s going to be a big night in the Bay Area.

 

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