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Clippers, Warriors clash in key Game 3 Thursday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 4/24/2014  at  5:58:00 AM
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LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-26)

at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (52-32)

NBA Playoffs - Western Conference First Round
Game 3 - Series tied 1-1
Tip-off: Thursday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -1.5, Total: 215

After splitting two games at Staples Center, the Clippers and Warriors head north to Oakland on Thursday night for a pivotal Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Los Angeles was not going to lose two straight games in its home arena, as it rolled to a 138-98 blowout win in Monday's Game 2. The game was in the Clippers' hands from start to finish, as they set a franchise postseason record with 67 points in the first half and forced 26 turnovers in the game. They shot very well from all areas of the court, knocking down 57% FG, 48% threes (12-of-25) and 91% FT (32-of-35). Golden State could not get into a rhythm the entire contest, making just 4-of-19 threes (21%), which is a far cry from its 38.0% threes (4th in NBA) during the regular season. The series now shifts to Oracle Arena, but Los Angeles is a solid 23-18 SU (25-15-1 ATS) on the road this season. Golden State is a good team at home though, putting together a record of 27-14 SU, but managing to go only 19-20-2 ATS. The Clippers' win on Monday brought the home teams in this season series to 5-1 SU (4-2 ATS), while overall, the clubs have an even 3-3 SU split this season. Going back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign, Golden State holds an 8-6 edge (both SU and ATS) in this series. L.A. has done well after failing to cover in two of its previous three games this season, going 19-8 ATS (70%), while the Warriors are 42-25 ATS (63%) after one or more consecutive losses over the past two seasons. The Clippers are playing with no significant injuries, but C Andrew Bogut (ribs) will continue to miss time for Golden State, and could be absent for the entire postseason.

The Clippers had the best offense during the regular season (107.9 PPG) and came out with vengeance on Monday night, putting up 138 points on their opponent. PF Blake Griffin (25.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG in playoffs) scored a playoff career-high 35 points in Game 2, and had 21 of those points in the first half alone. His ability to stay on the court was the key to the win, especially after he played in just 19 minutes before fouling out in the Game 1 loss. He should have no problem putting together another big performance, as he has averaged 22.5 PPG (53% FG) and 10.4 RPG against the Warriors over 16 career regular-season contests. PG Chris Paul (20.0 PPG, 9.0 APG, 4.5 SPG in playoffs) had a great all-around performance on Monday (12 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 steals), and did that in just 27 minutes on the court. His teams have only a 16-25 career playoff record, but he has done his part in those contests, scoring 20.8 PPG (48% FG) while adding 9.5 APG and 2.3 SPG. C DeAndre Jordan (11.0 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 5.0 BPG in playoffs) has 11 points and five blocks in each of the first two games while decreasing his turnovers from seven in Game 1 to just one miscue in Monday's contest. Per usual, Jordan has made a high percentage of his shot attempts (6-for-9) in the series, and connected on 64% FG while averaging 10.3 PPG, 15.3 RPG and 3.5 BPG in his four regular-season meetings with Golden State. Although SG Jamal Crawford has had a rough series (9.0 PPG on 32% FG), SG J.J. Redick has been on the mark, scoring 15.5 PPG on 61% FG and 63% threes (5-for-8).

The Warriors lived and died by the three-ball all season long, and this was proven over the first two games of this series as they made 11 threes in their Game 1 victory, and then just four in their blowout loss during Game 2. PG Stephen Curry (19.0 PPG, 7.5 APG, 2.5 SPG in playoffs) has not been able to find his touch while hitting just 3-of-13 threes in the series thus far. Over his 14 career playoff games, Curry has averaged 22.8 PPG (44% FG) with 8.0 APG and 1.8 SPG. PF David Lee (15.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG in playoffs) played just 20 minutes in the blowout loss on Monday, but still had four turnovers and has totaled 10 miscues in the two postseason games. He has played very poorly in his eight career postseason games (3 starts), producing just 7.6 PPG (46% FG) and 5.6 RPG. SG Klay Thompson (14.5 PPG in playoffs) has made 5-of-9 threes, but is shooting a pathetic 4-for-15 (27%) from inside the arc in the series so far. He scored only seven points on Monday, and that dropped his career playoff average to 15.1 PPG (43% FG) over 14 postseason games. Golden State also got disappointing performances from two other starters in Game 1, as C Jermaine O'Neal and SF Andre Iguodala each had only four points and posted a combined rating of minus-37. The Warriors did give more minutes to their bench during Monday's blowout though, as SG Jordan Crawford and SF Draymond Green both scored 11 points, SF Harrison Barnes pumped in nine points and six boards, and PF Marreese Speights finished with eight points and six rebounds in just 16 minutes of action.

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