Fast Forward: Warriors out to prove point in Game 3

Fast Forward: Warriors out to prove point in Game 3
April 24, 2014, 12:45 pm
Mission accomplished in the first two games, getting homecourt back. But we need to play a lot better ball. I don't think we played well in Game 1. Looking back on it. We definitely haven't shot the ball well from outside, which is something we've done all year long.
David Lee

KEYS TO THE GAME:

1) Barricading Blake. The Warriors have to force Griffin to move the ball any time he's within 12 feet of the hoop, even if it means occasionally doubling him.

2) Love the ball. After committing 49 turnovers in the first two games, the Warriors understand giveaways invite disaster.

3) Hot Curry. The point guard must rediscover his stroke because nothing the Warriors do on offense foils a defense better than his long-distance shooting.

Programming note: Coverage of Warriors-Clippers Game 3 starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live. Bookmark this page for comprehensive coverage of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series.

OAKLAND – Maybe the Warriors really can shrug off the sight of the Clippers, with a 40-point lead in the fourth quarter, continuing to hoist 3-point shots in the final minutes of Game 2 of their playoff series.

There is no doubt, though, that the Warriors hated spending the evening with the bruised rumps that come with taking a 40-point loss at Staples Center.

That left the series tied at one game apiece as the teams meet for Game 3 on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. It also pushed the Warriors in front of some ominous historical odds.

Only eight teams since 1990 have lost an NBA playoff game by 40 or more points, and all eight lost the series.

"That ain't got nothing to do with us," forward Draymond Green said before the team's Thursday morning shootaround.

Green is being proudly defiant, as is his custom. He won't concede until the clock tells him winning is impossible.

[RELATED: Jermaine O'Neal issues challenge to Warriors fans]

But history never lies. A 40-point postseason loss suggests an imbalance of talent or will or both. It also puts the Warriors in position to prove a point in Game 3 and in Game 4 on Sunday at Oracle.

"It makes us want to get these two victories that much more," Klay Thompson said after absorbing the brief history lesson.

"That's not a good stat, though."

The Warriors entered the series as the clear underdog, a No. 6 seed facing the third-seeded Clippers, who won the Pacific Division by six games. Though the series is tied, the Warriors earned the homecourt advantage with their victory in Game 1.

Now it's imperative that they exploit it.

[RELATED: Can Oracle help lift Warriors past Clippers?]

"Mission accomplished in the first two games, getting homecourt back," forward David Lee said. "But we need to play a lot better ball. I don't think we played well in Game 1. Looking back on it. We definitely haven't shot the ball well from outside, which is something we've done all year long."

The Warriors through two games are shooting 45.8 percent overall, 32.6 from 3-point distance – below their regular-season averages of 46.2 and 38.0, respectively. Some of the disparity can be attributed to Los Angeles defense, which has committed to pressuring and trapping point guard Stephen Curry.

The Warriors insist they'll counteract that with more effective screens, quicker movement and better spacing.

And if it doesn't work, well, they face the prospect of joining eight other teams, most recently the 2010 Hawks and the 2009 Rockets, that were blown out of one game and shortly afterward ousted from the series.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

David Lee vs. Blake Griffin -- Lee had the edge in Game 1, and so did the Warriors. Griffin won Game 2 in a rout, and so did his team. It's up to the Warriors to devise a way to defend Griffin, who is too much for any single Warrior.

[POOLE: Warriors must double-team Griffin to slow him down]

Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul -- Paul generally defends Curry, who rarely defends Paul. But each point guard acts as the ignition switch for his team. The biggest difference is that Curry's scoring often is the catalyst behind his team's offensive production.

The benches. Los Angeles has several impact players on its bench, but only PG Darren Collison is a respected defender. It was easy for Clippers reserves to launch and hit threes in a blowout. It's much harder in a close game, where Warriors PG Steve Blake might be the most composed reserve on either team.

Oracle vs. the Clippers -- The effect of an arena doesn't show up on the stat sheet. The winner of this matchup is determined almost entirely by the eye test.

KEEP AN EYE ON
Attempts by the Warriors to get hops-happy center DeAndre Jordan off his feet and into foul trouble, and efforts by the Clippers to physically pound on Curry at every opportunity.

FIRST TWO GAMES
The Warriors held off a late rally, posting a 109-105 in Game 1.

The Clippers led from the opening tip, taking a 138-98 rout in Game 2.

INJURY REPORT
For the Warriors, C Andrew Bogut (fractured rib), C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) and G Nemanja Nedovic (strained right calf) are out indefinitely.

The Clippers list no injuries.

 

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