After a bizarre series opener and a lopsided Game 2, the Los Angeles Clippers attempt to snatch back home court advantage from the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their first round playoffs series on Thursday night in Oakland.
With Blake Griffin fouling out after playing fewer than 20 minutes in Game 1, the Clippers’ most valuable player of the season put up 35 points in three quarters of work in Game 2. From the opener to the second game, Griffin proved his value to his team and to the series.
With the series moving to Oakland for the next two games, the Clippers will hope to win at least one game on the road to restore the home court advantage they worked so hard to earn during the regular season.
The Warriors, who were 27-14 at home this season, will hope to see more production from their starters in Game 3.
In Game 2, three of the five Golden State starters did not score double-digits in points, and David Lee barely passed the mark with 11 points. With the exception of Stephen Curry, no Warriors’ starter could hold his head up high after Game 2.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, widely considered one of the best shooters in the NBA, finished with seven points on only four shot attempts in Game 2. Andre Iguodala, who was limited in Game 1 with foul trouble, was unable to bounce back in Game 2 and finished with four points, three assists and four turnovers over 29 minutes in Game 2.
However, Game 2 is history, and Game 3 takes center stage on Thursday night. The Warriors have some of the loudest fans in the NBA, and playing at home should cure some of the ills that took hold in Game 2.
For the Clippers, winning Game 3 comes down to keeping Griffin on the court. The difference between Game 1 and Game 2 was obvious. Without Griffin, the Clippers lost by four. With Griffin, the Clippers won by 40. With Warriors center Andrew Bogut out indefinitely, the Clippers all-star forward was able to get to the front of the rim with ease. Even in Game 1, Griffin poured in 16 points in only 19 minutes. In Game 2, Griffin could have scored 50 if he had played the fourth quarter.
For the Clippers, the difference between Griffin on the court and Griffin on the bench is the difference between winning and losing.
Game 3 Tips at ORACLE Arena in Oakland at 7:30 pm Pacific Time.