Programming note: "Warriors NBA Finals Central" airs tonight at 5 p.m., and immediately after Game 3 on CSN Bay Area Plus. Both shows will be streaming live right here.
The Warriors are invading a city that smells victory. Cleveland, so forlorn for so long, believes the time has come to win a championship.
When the teams take the floor Tuesday night for Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena, with the NBA Finals tied at one game apiece, it will be loud, louder and loudest. It will be the kind of atmosphere that, quite frankly, the Warriors rather enjoy.
They were 28-13 on the road in the regular season, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green taking particular delight in silencing opposing arenas. Both have been subpar through two games and hope the Ohio getaway will be a tonic.
LeBron James can be counted on to do his part to make things miserable for the Warriors. His impact was evident as the underdog Cavaliers pushed the Warriors into overtime in each of the first two games in Oakland.
The series shifted a bit when Cleveland won Game 2. Will the Warriors made enough of the proper adjustments to shift it back to them?
Cavaliers by 2.5 (line has since shifted to Warriors by 1.5).
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Matthew Dellavedova: Delly received a lot of pub for his gritty work in Game 2. But Curry has not been himself since taking a frightening fall in Game 4 at Houston. Curry generally bounces back after a poor game. He needs to.
Harrison Barnes et al vs. LeBron James: James has become a volume shooter, and the Warriors don’t mind that. They’ll live with his 2-pointers but would rather avoid letting him find teammates for treys. The goal is simple: Don’t let him dominate.
Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson: Green’s jumper is lost and it’s affecting his confidence; he launched only one 3-pointer in Game 2. Thompson would struggle to get to Draymond beyond the arc, but Green has to give him a reason to chase.
Andrew Bogut vs. Timofey Mozgov: Although Bogut has had his moments on defense, he’s losing this battle. Mozgov has been nimbler and more productive. The Warriors yearn for Bogut to at least offset Mozgov and command the middle.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Whip it good: The Kerr/Gentry halfcourt offense requires rapid passing around cutting action. When the Warriors are zipping passes, teams struggle to keep up.
2) Push the pace: The first two games were, for the most part, played at Cleveland’s deliberate pace. The Warriors must speed it up, with or without great defense.
3) Drive and kick: The Cavs are doing a solid job defending the arc. The Dubs can counter this by getting into the paint and kicking out when the defense collapses.
“I think both teams are probably thinking we both should be up 2-0.” – Curry, responding to each of the first two games going into overtime.
Warriors: No injuries reported.
Cavaliers: G Kyrie Irving (left knee surgery), F Kevin Love (dislocated left shoulder) and C/F Anderson Varejao (ruptured left Achilles tendon) are listed as out.
The teams have split the first two games in the series, the first postseason meeting between them. They also split two games in the regular season, the Warriors posting a 112-94 win at Oracle Arena on Jan. 9 and the Cavs taking a 110-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on Feb. 26.