Golden State suffered a couple of blows in Game 2 of this series, blowing a big second-half lead to allow the Clippers to tie the series, and losing center DeMarcus Cousins. The Warriors are going to have to readjust to life without Cousins after his season-ending quad injury suffered in Game 2. This is a huge blow to a team that had hoped he could be a piece that helped alleviate pressure from their big three.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to lose. They are a tremendous group, filled with guys who want to do nothing but win. They were pegged by many as the most likely team in the West to get swept, but fresh off the greatest comeback in NBA Playoff history, they are looking for more.
Golden State is -8.5 for Game 3 on Thursday night, with the over/under set at 236.5.
Warriors need to bounce back
This Golden State team posted the worst regular-season record of any of the five teams that have been coached by Steve Kerr. That does not diminish their record though, and the fact they sit in the No. 1 spot still shows how high the bar has been set for this team. In the first game, they built a 31-point lead and looked to be well on their way to a 2-0 lead in the first round for the fifth year in a row. That is not quite how it went, as the Warriors could not keep up with the scoring barrage they were allowed to happen on the other end of the court.
They were smart enough to sign veteran Andrew Bogut right before the postseason as insurance at center, so he and Kevon Looney will be holding down the fort for 30-35 minutes a game, with Draymond Green likely playing small-ball five for the rest. Losing Cousins does not kill them for this series. Jordan Bell could also snag a few minutes.
Clippers look for an encore
LA, take a bow! Nobody had ever made the comeback that they did in Game 2. They scored 85 points in the second half, and they could not be stopped. Their top two reserves, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, combined for 61 points, and each posted double-doubles. The shots continued to drop, and there was nothing that Golden State could do to slow them down. And while they weren’t just jacking up threes left and right, the shots were dropping at a high rate, as 14 of the 31 threes they attempted found the bottom of the net.
Of all the players to hit the go-ahead shot on the final possession, it was Landry Shamet, the rookie from Wichita State who they acquired in the Tobias Harris deal. Shamet, Beverley, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have all been terrific on the defensive end against some of the best scorers the game has ever seen. With Danilo Gallinari also doing his thing, they look good.
Expect another tight one
Be sure you bet LAC +8.5! They will look to use some of the momentum from their historic comeback to try and take the lead in the series. Golden State will come ready to play, but the defense of their opponents is tight. Expect Kevin Durant to shoot more than eight times.
Free Pick: LAC +8.5
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