Warriors ramping up focus level with recent Game 3 issues: 'Take their heart'

Warriors ramping up focus level with recent Game 3 issues: 'Take their heart'

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 3 coverage starts Saturday night at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND -- Game 3 is next up for the Warriors and in case they didn’t know their Game 3 history, coach Steve Kerr and his staff offered a reminder.

Game 3s have not been their friend, even when they’re up 2-0, as they will be Saturday when they face the Trail Blazers at Moda Center for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

“Coach Kerr has made us fully aware of our Game 3 record in the past three years,” Matt Barnes said after practice Friday. “So . . . we don’t want to have any slippage. We want to come in and focus and, really, try to take their heart.”

As much success as the Warriors have had over the past two postseasons, winning the NBA Finals in 2015 and losing it in seven games last June, they have been sub-mediocre in Game 3 situations.

The Warriors were 0-of-4 in Game 3s last postseason, 2-2 the year before.

They were 4-0 in Game 2s last postseason, 2-2 the year before.

So the Warriors will be on guard when they take the floor Saturday.

“We’ve just got to know that going home, they’re going to be locked in,” Draymond Green said. “They’ll have a great focus level. They’ll be more confident. I know one thing for them is to try and get their role players going; role players are usually more comfortable at home.

“So we’ve got to take all that into account and just make sure we’re ready out of the gate. Come with the right intensity level, the right focus level that it takes to go on the road and win a playoff game.”

Three of the Warriors’ Game 3 losses last season came after they’d won the first two games at Oracle Arena. With 2-0 series leads, they took losses in Game 3 at Houston in the first round, at Portland in the Western Conference semifinals and at Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

The fourth Game 3 loss, at Oklahoma City in the conference finals, put the Warriors down 2-1. They also lost Game 4 before coming back to take the next three games and the series.

“I know how this stuff works,” Kerr said. “You go up 2-0, everyone says the series is over, right? Then you go to the other team’s gym and they win one game and, all of sudden, ‘Oh my God, it’s a series.’ As if that’s like a revelation. ‘Oh, wait, we thought it was going to be a sweep.’

“We’ve just won two home games. That’s all we did.”

Steve Kerr jokes about wanting to trade spots with Andre Iguodala

Steve Kerr jokes about wanting to trade spots with Andre Iguodala

Steve Kerr has accomplished a lot during his playing and coaching career.

He played four seasons for Lute Olson at Arizona. He spent 15 years playing in the NBA, and won five NBA titles during that time.

As a coach, Kerr has made the NBA Finals in each of his first four seasons with the Warriors, and has won three championships.

If you're Steve Kerr, there aren't many people you'd want to trade places with.

Except, there is one Warriors player Kerr would like to be.

"I definitely would trade spots with Andre [Iguodala]," Kerr said on Friday on 95.7 The Game. "I can only imagine what it has felt like to be Andre iguodala over the last 20 years playing basketball. That kind of athleticism, intelligence and feel, I could only dream about being the player he is."

Iguodala, a first-round pick in 2004, has won three titles with Kerr, was named NBA Finals MVP in 2015, was selected to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game and will have earned nearly $170 million through contracts by the time his deal with the Warriors is up.

So, we can understand why Kerr might want to trade places with Iguodala.

[RELATED: Iguodala reveals reason for improved play]

Kerr was asked a really tough question by host Damon Bruce: Who had the better playing career as an Arizona Wildcat, himself or Iguodala?

"How do I answer that?" Kerr joked. "I guess I did because I was there five years and he was there two years."

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

May 3, 2017 is a special day in Golden State Warriors history.

The No. 8 seed Warriors knocked off the No. 1 seed Mavericks in Game 6 at Oracle Arena to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Dirk Nowitzki -- who was named MVP about two weeks later -- had one of the worst games of his career. He scored just eight points and went 2-for-13 from the field.

But it was something that took place off the court that stands out more than anything for Dirk when he thinks about that difficult day.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic has the details:

“Crazy atmosphere,” Dirk remembered. “Crazy. One of the loudest buildings I’ve been in. The fans were so in it, any run they had.”

What does Dirk remember most? The pregame tailgates.

“It doesn’t happen much in basketball,” Dirk said. “Happens more in football, when the fans cookout before. But that was the case when we drove up to the arena two-and-a-half hours, three hours before tip.

“Fans were out there flipping us off, mooning us on our way in. It was crazy. As a competitor, fun to play, but it kind of pushed them to another level. The fans were a big part of that.”

On Saturday night, Dirk will play at Oracle for the last time in his career.

The crowds might not be as consistently loud as they were during the "We Believe" run in 2007, but the man who has scored the sixth most points in NBA history has a lot of respect for the people who have filled up Oracle over the years.

[RELATEDSteph Curry will not play when Warriors host Luka Doncic, Mavericks]

“Oracle was always a fun place to play,” Nowitzki told The Athletic. “Even in the years early in my career, when the team wasn’t good, I thought the fans were always amazing there. Always great crowds. Always loud when they made runs. A great stop.

“They say the fans have changed a little bit. Because, yeah, obviously the ticket prices are a little higher than they used to be 20 years ago. But I didn’t really notice. It’s still super loud. Honestly, when Steph gets on one of his runs and starts shooting 3s from 35 feet, the place goes absolutely bonkers.”

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