The Warriors Handle Business in Game 1
*Photo via AP
We pretty much got what we expected today from Oracle Arena. In the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the eighth seeded New Orleans Pelicans and the first seeded Golden State Warriors.The heavily favored Warriors, survived a late surge from the feisty Pelicans for a 106-99 victory, to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Warriors lead by 25 points with only a minute remaining in the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter surge was lead by Pelican superstar, Anthony Davis, who had 20 of his game high 35 points in the final quarter. Stephen Curry was his usual MVP self with a 34 point, five assist, and four rebound performance. The Warriors improved to an incredible 40-2 at home on the season. Early on it looked like this game wasn’t going to be competitive at all.
The Warriors jumped all over the young and nervous Pelicans in the 1st quarter. A couple Harrison Barnes threes, an emphatic Andrew Bogut alley oop slam, and Curry getting off to a hot start and paced the Dubs to a 28-13 lead after one quarter of play. No one on New Orleans looked comfortable. Especially Anthony Davis, who was being suffocated by both Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. The Warriors front line dominated for most of the game. Late in the 3rd quarter Anthony Davis had one rebound to his name. Green finished with 12 rebounds and Bogut had 14 boards.
The Pelicans seemed to make pushes in this game when Curry went to the bench. Curry had a plus/minus of +20 in a seven point victory. Norris Cole provided a nice lift for the Pelicans off the bench and finished the game with 8 points and 6 assists. Cole has won 2 championships with the Miami Heat and looked poised in his playoff debut with the Pelicans. Tyreke Evans only played 12 minutes and scored 1 point. He left the game in the 2nd quarter with a knee injury and did not play in the second half. His status for game two is unknown.
All five warriors starters scored in double figures. Like expected the bench got a little shorter. Only veteran Andre Iguodala played more than 15 minutes off the bench. He gave coach Kerr, 31 solid minutes, with eight points four rebounds and three assists. The Warriors had a very uncharacteristic game from the free throw line. They shot 21-34 (61.8 percent) and both Curry and Thompson missed three apiece. Other than a few mishaps late in this game, the Warriors looked like we thought they would in the series opener. They were great defensively and controlled the glass. Harrison Barnes was a great x-factor and seemed to have a hand in a lot of big plays when the Pelicans were fighting back in this game.
Player of the Game: Stephen Curry. The likely MVP, was at it again. He was hot all day long and had moments where he was out of this world. In the first quarter, he hit a three from about 30 feet from the basket and he did it with ease. The Pelicans must do a much better job on Steph if they want to compete in game two.
Dud of the Game: The Pelicans in the first quarter. I know this is kind of harsh. Their best player (Anthony Davis) admitted to having trouble sleeping last night, because he was so excited. The jitters were obvious. They were very sloppy and hyped. If you want to beat Golden State at Oracle you can’t go down by 15 in the first quarter. After the 1st quarter the Pelicans outscored the Warriors 86-78.
Stat of the Game: Draymond Green had seven assists and Andrew Bogut had five assists. When the Warriors bigs are that unselfish and involved they will be nearly impossible to beat.
The Pelicans showed some serious fight late in the game. They also did a decent job on one of the Splash Brothers. Klay Thompson did have 21 points, but he shot 6-17 from the field and seemed uncomfortable for most of the game. Quincy Pondexter gave the Pelicans great minutes and had a very impressive stat line of 20 points,9 rebounds, and 6 assists. The Warriors are going to be very tough to beat at home. The crowd was rocking today and the players really feed off that energy. If Tyreke is out for an extended period of time this series could be over faster than I thought. The Warriors will look to extend their series lead to 2-0 on Monday night.
Next game: Game 2 Pelicans @ Warriors 10:30 est TNT
(Warriors lead series 1-0)