Game 3 Preview: Can The Warriors Bounce Back And Protect Home Court
After two days off both teams are expected to make some adjustments, but the Warriors need a much better effort overall. The Warriors gave up 138 points in Game 2 and must quickly figure out how to correct that. It is easy to blame it on the absence of Andrew Bogut, but the Warriors must find a way to slow down the Clippers’ high powered offense if they want to win this game and series.
Coming off the humiliating in Game 2, the Warriors’ best recourse is to completely erase Game 2 from their memory and focus on protecting their home court advantage. After two games in Los Angeles, the Warriors are back at Oracle Arena for Game 3 and it is good to be home. The Warriors have won the last 15 of 17 meetings against the Clippers at Oracle Arena and they have an opportunity to put the Clippers in a deep hole. The crowd is going to be electric and the Warriors have no choice but to leave it all on the court tonight. The winner of Game 3 when the series is tied at one goes on to win the series about 77 percent of the time, so this game is crucial.
Key Players To Watch Out For:
Blake Griffin had a monster game on Monday night and will be coming into Oracle Arena with a lot of confidence. Griffin is a very emotional player and when he plays with extreme confidence, he is dangerous. Griffin was 13 for 17 and tallied 35 points in Game 2, but he also shot 90 percent from the charity strike. However, if the Warriors are able to frustrate him early and often, then they will have an opportunity to slow him down. The Warriors will have to get creative with their half court defense and figure out how to keep Griffin from the paint. The absence of Bogut puts the Warriors at a disadvantage, which forces coach Mark Jackson to create a game plan that will improve their interior defense.
It doesn’t take a genius to tell you Chris Paul is a key player to watch out for, he is always a focal point to be concerned about. However, Paul is nursing a right hamstring injury, but it has not slowed him down in the first two games. He is a great floor general and his impact goes way beyond the stat sheet. The Warriors will need to be aggressive with Paul and disrupt him enough to get him out of his game. Paul can beat you so many different ways on both ends of the court, but if he truly is being bothered by a hamstring injury, the Warriors must maintain the game at a high pace.
The Clippers are a deep team and that was evident in Game 2. Seven players were in double figures and two other players finished the game with nine points. They can spread the ball out and can shoot it very well beyond the arc, so the Warriors must be aware of who is on the court and their strengths. A player like Darren Collison is sneaky good and capable of dishing out 10 assists like he did in Game 2, so the Warriors must shot down the Clippers’ role players.
Keys To A Warriors’ Win:
The Warriors Need A Monster Performance From Stephen Curry: It is hard to complain about Curry’s production, but he is the franchise player and must deliver tonight. We all know Curry is more than capable of carrying his team to a victory, he did so several times during the regular season, but this is the playoffs, where legends are made. One thing to be encouraged about is Curry’s heart and competitiveness, while the Warriors were embarrassing the Warriors in Game 2, Curry would not wave the white flag. Curry scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter and should have been more, but the refs swallowed their whistle although he was repeatedly hitting the deck. That type of fire should motivate his teammates to play with more energy and heart.
Limit The Turnovers: The Warriors had 26 turnovers on their way to a 40 point defeat and those turnover led to 26 points for the Clippers. If the Warriors want to win Game 3, they must limit the turnovers because they lead to easy points for the Clippers. The Clippers are a great offensive team, especially in transition and they can quickly turn a turnover into an easy bucket. No team can run the floor like the Clippers and the Warriors must force them to score in a half court set. By limiting the turnovers, no easy points will be conceded.
Feed Off The Crowd: Oracle Arena will be in a frenzy tonight and they better be ready to be off their feet for 48 minutes. Playing at home is a huge advantage and the Warriors just have to protect their floor and they will win this series. The Warriors did their job in Game 1 by winning on the road, now the Warriors’ fans must make Oracle Arena a hostile environment. It is time to show the rest of the nation why the Warriors have one of the most passionate fan bases in the country.
L.A. Clippers (3) at Golden State Warriors (6)
7:30 p.m. PST, April 24, 2014
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Series: Tied at 1-1