NBA Basketball

Warriors ready to respond to Clippers' challenge

(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Both teams have reason for optimism when the Western Conference first-round playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers moves to L.A. for Game 3 on Thursday night.

The eighth-seeded Clippers will be riding the momentum of the greatest comeback in their history and biggest ever in an NBA playoff game as they try to duplicate what they did in 2014 -- beat Golden State in a best-of-7 after losing the first game.

The top-seeded Warriors, meanwhile, have their in-state rivals right where they want them -- in Los Angeles, where Golden State has won eight of the last nine meetings.

"We have a lot of experience," Warriors guard Klay Thompson said of the two-time defending champions. "This is the first time we've been tied in a series (since Game 7 of last year's Western finals against Houston, which Golden State won). I know we'll bounce back. We're too prideful not to."

The Warriors will have to do so without center DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his left quad while attempting to chase down a loose ball early in Game 2. He is out for the season.

Before signing Cousins this past offseason, the Warriors won at least one playoff game in 19 consecutive series, an NBA record they share with the Miami Heat.

Golden State will get two opportunities to break that record this week, with Game 4 also scheduled for the Staples Center on Sunday.

The Game 2 loss, which snapped Golden State's seven-game postseason winning streak, was just the third in the first round for the Warriors in the past five seasons. They haven't lost twice against the same opponent in that stretch.

Then again, they've never faced a team that was coming off a 31-point comeback, either. That's what the Clippers did in Game 2, outscoring Golden State 72-37 after falling behind 94-63 in the fifth minute of the third quarter.

The Warriors have been unable to stop Lou Williams (61 total points) and Montrezl Harrell (51) in either game, but it was rookie Landry Shamet who hit the difference-making shot in Game 2, a 3-pointer that put the Clippers in front with 16.5 seconds remaining.

Win or lose, the Clippers have earned a spot in the NBA record book. But, according to coach Doc Rivers, they want more.

"That's not enough for us. We didn't come here for (just one win)," he insisted. "They have expectations. This team does. No one wants to agree with us, and that's fine. We're fine with that. But we have our own expectations and we're going to keep them."

The teams split games in Los Angeles during the regular season, with the Clippers winning 121-116 in overtime in November, before the Warriors prevailed 112-94 in January.

Golden State went 18-6 in the games immediately following a loss in the regular season. The Warriors won their last six under those circumstances by an average of 14.3 points.

The Clippers beat the Warriors at their own game in Game 2, recording a playoff franchise-record 34 assists.

Golden State led the NBA in assists during the regular season.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 18, 2019

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