Programming note: Watch "Warriors Playoff Central" tonight at 4 p.m. and immediately following Game 3 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
As the Warriors-Grizzlies series shifts to Memphis for Game 3 on Saturday, the emotions are rising and the plot lines are getting thicker. This is not yet a rivalry, but there are signs that one could develop.
There are the personal battles, notably Klay Thompson and Tony Allen. There was the dramatic return of Memphis point guard Mike Conley in Game 2, when he led his team to victory in Stephen Curry's house. And there is, suddenly, the matter of which arena is more imposing.
The Warriors say it's theirs, Oracle Arena. The Grizzlies say it’s theirs, FedEx Forum, also known as The Grindhouse, where Games 3 and 4 will be played.
With both teams healthy and this Western Conference semifinals series tied at one game apiece, let the juices fly.
Warriors by 4.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: This is, quite likely, where the series will be decided. Conley returned from a 10-day injury absence and was the surprise MVP of Game 2 – at Oracle Arena. But the competitive nature of the full-season MVP cannot be overstated. Expect Curry, who lives to deflate road arenas, to make a statement.
Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut vs. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph: Randolph was a load in Game 2 and it didn't matter who defended him. The Warriors typically assign Bogut and take their chances. They'll go that route again. As for Green, he has to defend effectively on Gasol or Randolph without fouling while also stretching the floor on offense.
Klay Thompson vs. Tony Allen: Allen is a ferocious defender and Thompson is a cold-blooded marksman. The key for Thompson is not getting caught up in the one-on-one battle, as he did in Game 2, when he forced some questionable shots. There are ways to beat Allen, but trying to take him off the dribble isn't one of them.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Run, run, run: Memphis dictated a slow, methodical pace in Game 2 and it worked. The Warriors have to use defense to launch transition and increase tempo.
2) Quiet whistles: Green and Bogut have to avoid foul trouble. Green didn't in Game 2 and the Warriors suffered for it. That's natural, as they are weaker without him.
3) Keep it moving: The ball movement in Game 2 was atrocious; the Warriors had more turnovers than assists. Maybe Kerr can install a six-pass minimum for Game 3?
"We’re confident in any building in the world, I'd say. It's still a basketball game and we play very well on the road. We're not intimidated by it. We’ve got a lot of guys that have hit big shots and played in game games throughout their college and NBA careers, so I think it'll be the same (Saturday)." – Warriors C Andrew Bogut
Warriors: C Ognjen Kuzmic (sprained left ankle) is listed as out.
Grizzlies: No injuries listed.
The teams are tied at one game apiece in this best-of-seven series, the first playoff battle between them. After losing 11 in a row to Memphis in the regular season, since December 2013 the Warriors have won five of the last seven meetings overall.