Preview: Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans 11-25-2013

USA TODAY Sports

Beat up Warriors start the road trip against the much-improved Pelicans.

Warriors (8-6) @ Pelicans(6-7)

TV: CSNBA| Radio: KNBR 680

Arena: New Orleans Arena

Tip-Off: 5:00pm PST, 8:00 EST

Blog Buddy The Bird Writes

This has been a pretty dinged-up week for the Warriors. Currently on a 3-game losing streak, the Dubs are still depleted on the court. Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Onjen Kuzmic, and Festus Ezeli are still out - Jermaine O'Neal may be able to play tonight, but at best Golden State is down 4 players instead of five. Oh, and Andrew Bogut is out with a suspension, as well. So the Warriors will play with either David Lee at center, JON if he's healthy, and possibly some Dewayne Dedmon if O'Neal can't go. We'll  likely see more of Marrese than we'd like, considering his tendency to Speights out on the floor.

New Orleans is currently 13th in the Western Conference, which would put them tied with Chicago for 4th in the Eastern. Despite the annual pre-season proclamations that "this year the East will be much stronger", it's not playing out that way - again. The East's futility against the West has been running for decades by now - it makes me wonder why Eastern teams (except Miami) still play that dreadful style of iso-ball.

Anyway... the Pelicans are a middling team at this point, and present a serious challenge to a team struggling to put the right pieces on the floor at the right time with two starters out and depleted rotations.

Anthony Davis has been playing very well - and there should be no question that he was a good first pick, even if you preferred Lillard.  Per game, Davis is averaging 19.8 pts, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks. The loss of Bogut will hurt a lot, and possibly the only way to slow down the Brow will be to fling Dedmon on him. Not literally, but Dewayne's athleticism might do more good that Speights' supposed experience and "skill".

On the wings, New Orleans has a pretty good rotation, with Tyreke Evans and Anthony Morrow backing up Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu. Joining them from the bench is Ryan Anderson, making a potently scoring reserve unit. Offense vs defense will be the name of the game here, and the Dub reserves will have to have stellar games on D to avoid the kind of bench collapses we've already seen this year. If Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson don't have big nights both ways, the wing picture could be pretty bleak.

At point, Stephen Curry will likely be the best player on the floor again, although Jrue Holiday seems to be doing pretty well for the Pels.

For the Warriors to pull this one out, they'll need to do a much better job of imposing their pace, hit their open shots, and not get caught with silly fouls. Draymond Green will need a strong presence on the boards, and while we can't expect the 20+ per d-league game Kent Bazemore, Dedmon, and Nemanja Nedovic provide, an indication that they're actually capable of playing at NBA tempo would go a long way.

Predictions

  • Warriors by 4
  • Curry 33-12
  • Lee 19-10
  • Barnes 25-9
  • Pierre the Pelican causes at least one heart attack and/or terrorizes a child.

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