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After splitting the first two games in Los Angeles, the first round Warriors-Clippers playoff series moves north to Oracle Arena for Games 3 and 4. Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy) and Rich Twu (Let's Go Warriors) weigh in on what to expect.

What are your expectations for the series as it moves to Oracle Arena for Games 3 & 4?

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
It'll be MUCH louder in Games 3 and 4 than what we heard during the series' first two games, when it took dunks by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to create anything resembling a playoff atmosphere.

As far as gameplay is concerned, I can't see any reason why Doc Rivers would change what his team is doing, since they're forcing 23.5 turnovers per game and steamrolled the Warriors in Game 2. Golden State hasn't shown the ability to stop Blake Griffin, so they're going to need to figure out something other than sticking David Lee on him and hoping Griffin misses. Perhaps that means more double teams, or keeping Lee on DeAndre Jordan and handing the Griffin assignment to Jermaine O'Neal and Draymond Green.

Mark Jackson could very well change his rotations a bit, perhaps mixing up his starters and reserves a little more instead of playing four or five bench guys at the same time, and shortening the lineup by a player or two. But Jackson seems like a coach who's confident in what got the team to this point, so the biggest change we'll see might come from the Warriors' style of play. They got pushed around on Monday night, and the new test is to increase the physicality without getting into foul trouble. That's not easy against a team like the Clippers, who are much better at "accentuating" contact than the Warriors.

I'm expecting a split and a 2-2 series heading back to L.A.. Even though we can expect better play and effort from Golden State than we saw in Game 2, they've had some hiccups at home and the Clippers are the higher seed for a reason.

Rich Twu | Let's Go Warriors | @poormanscommish
This one's no surprise: #Roaracle will be rocking. I had a discussion about this with esteemed Warriors colleagues on the drive back from LA. There are music concerts and then there are Warriors playoff games at Oracle. The energy-per-square-footage of #Roaracle makes it perhaps the best event to attend on the entire West Coast!

My expectation is that the Warriors will rise to the occasion in Game 3 and deliver a strong performance. Perhaps it was a good thing, all of those losses at home during the regular season. The team learned the hard way that victories at Oracle are not a sure thing, that they have to earn those wins and, as Draymond Green said yesterday, have the crowd feed off the team rather than the other way around.

As far as Game 4, because of the talent level of the Clippers and the leadership of Chris Paul, it's going to be very difficult for the Warriors to win both unless something profound happens, such as some strategic discovery, in Game 3. Like between Games 2 and 3, there are also another two days between Game 3 and 4; the further apart the games, the more mutually exclusive they are. That is to say, should the Warriors win Game 3, it'd be hard for that momentum to carry into Game 4.

Finding a way to slow down Blake Griffin is essential to the Warriors' plans for Game 3. (photo: Stephen Dunn/NBAE/Getty)

What, if anything, did Stephen Curry’s 20-point third quarter in Game 2 tell you?

Rich Twu | Let's Go Warriors | @poormanscommish
Looking at that performance under a microscope, the first thing it told me is that Curry has really blossomed into a superstar player in terms of being able to absorb physicality. You can see all of the weight training and rehabilitation of his ankle paying dividends before your eyes.

As far as the bottom-line production during his incredible 20-point outburst, I think it is all, again, part of the process. That's not just me drinking the Kool-Aid. We've seen the progression of a superstar in LeBron James, when he had to figure out how much of the burden he needed to shoulder versus "making the right play". With Kevin Durant, we're seeing that process approach its maturation point, perhaps even more gradually than Curry's, because of Russell Westbrook being a major ingredient there.

We saw Steph elevate his status last year against the Nuggets and the Spurs, and to see him dominate the floor in Game 2 with a new facet -- attacking the rim -- was a very promising development.

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
Mostly that the Clippers weren't worried about making Curry's (basketball) life a living hell after getting a 30-point lead, and the Warriors didn't make a dent in said lead even though Curry made several shots in a row.

Looking at this in a positive way for the Warriors, Curry goes into Game 3 without having to answer questions about poor scoring and shooting numbers in this series. There's a school of thought that his outburst could flip some sort of aggressiveness switch that will propel him to new heights against the Clippers, but I'm not sure that's the case. Curry is a phenomenal offensive player, and the Clippers are going to send two capable defenders at him on nearly every play until the series is over.

The Warriors need to help Curry by varying their offense to create more space and better passing angles for their point guard. You can be sure entire team has watched a lot of video from Game 2 to determine whether the Clippers showed some exploitable tendencies. It would also help Curry and the Warriors if Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala both stayed out of foul trouble. The Warriors' record shows they're a better team when Curry doesn't have to do it all himself.

 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Golden State Warriors.

 

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