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Warriors vs. Pelicans analysis: Golden State pulls out their first win despite poor shooting, defense

The Warriors overcome Anthony Davis’ monster game and net their first win of the season.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It's official, 81-1 is still in the cards.

The Warriors managed to bag their first victory of the season last night much to the relief of some fans who may have had a knee-jerk reaction to the blowout loss in San Antonio.

Unfortunately, this wasn't a convincing victory. The new-look Warriors still haven't properly "clicked" on either side of the court and instead won last night’s game mostly due to superior individual talent. Kevin Durant had a great game and hasn't missed a beat since becoming a Warrior. He finished with 30 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals while shooting 47% from the field and 100% at the free throw line.

For those keeping track, this gives him 57 points, 27 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in his first two games of the season. It's fair to say his transition into the blue and gold jersey has been smooth so far.

The Brow

Anthony Davis continued his stellar start to the season; when the final buzzer sounded Davis had racked up 45 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a monster effort to try and drag his team to their first victory. Ultimately, New Orleans fell short of the win but they were in it right up until the very end, down only six points with one minute left in the game.

As fans, we try not to overreact to the first couple weeks of the season but, at this point, it's blatantly obvious to most that when Davis is healthy he's one of the top five players in the league. The concern for him isn't with his development as a player but with his health. In his first four years in the league, he has never managed to suit up for more than 68 games. If he manages to play 70+ this season then he's bound to have a great year. And with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans eventually returning he won't have to do everything himself for the entire year, hopefully.

While Tim Frazier set a career-high with 21 points and added 10 assists on top of that, it's plain to see that this team is not built to contend. We all want to see Davis in the playoffs again, everyone is hoping that the Pelicans will manage to build a contender sooner rather than later.

Poor shooting continues

Uncharacteristically, the Warriors’ shooting from beyond the arc has been lackluster. Last night in New Orleans they shot 32% from deep as Durant and Klay Thompson both struggled to get their long range shots to fall. Fortunately both players are smart enough and talented enough to adjust when their shot isn't falling, opting to take the ball inside for a barrage of mid-range shots and layups. However, it is strange that a team consisting of three of the greatest shooters the league has ever seen is shooting so poorly to start the year.

Rebounding, it's a team effort

Fans were quick to blame the Warriors’ big men for the loss in San Antonio. Zaza Pachulia and David West combined for a pitiful five rebounds in the game against San Antonio. Yet Pachulia alone managed to pull down 11 rebounds in New Orleans last night. On top of that, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant combined for 28 rebounds.

Some things to keep an eye on moving forward in regards to rebounding are:

  • Offensive rebounding. Draymond Green only had seven games in total last year where he grabbed 4 or more offensive rebounds. He's already accomplished that small feat in both of the games this season. Pachulia was a stud last season when it came to offensive rebounding as he was 4th in offensive rebounds per game among starting centers. Can he repeat that? With the Warriors’ shooters struggling to start the season there will be an abundance of opportunities for this pair to grab offensive boards.
  • Boxing out. It's a team effort and for most basketball fans it seems like a very basic thing but apparently the vast majority of the Warriors roster have forgotten how to do this. If the Warriors don't start boxing out their opponents they're going to continue to be dominated on the glass.
  • Kevin Durant’s career-high in rebounds is 18, it seems like it's only a matter of time before he tops that. The Warriors need his presence on the glass and he's spoken about his focus on rebounding already.

"I just didn't want us to get outrebounded," Durant said, adding that coach Steve Kerr "told me that I could try to lead this team in rebounding and I'm trying to do my best to help out."

McGawd goes down

Patrick McCaw played a solid ten minutes off the bench before going down with an apparent ankle injury. The X-rays reportedly came back clear so for now it's being regarded as a severe ankle sprain.

On to the next one...

While the talent alone can carry the Warriors’ offense through the choppy waters of the early regular season it's the defense that fans should be querying. I wholeheartedly believe that eventually the Warriors will work it out defensively. Communication on the perimeter needs to improve as does the overall effort (let's not allow players like Tim Frazier to just walk past you for an easy layup). On the inside, Draymond is focused and, even when sloppy, he plays his heart out on that end. Pachulia is a better defender than most Warriors fans give him credit for but the lack of shot blocking might haunt the team all season long.

Eventually the long range shots will begin to fall. Eventually the team will gel defensively and eventually the Warriors will win in a more convincing fashion. DubNation just needs to remain patient. It's better to have these issues now than have them in March.

The Warriors head to Phoenix on Sunday to take on the Suns for their next game. The game tips off at 3 p.m. PST and is airing on CSN.

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