Without Kevin Durant, we knew coming in that the Warriors would have to figure something out down low to contain the dynamic inside presence of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. The biggest surprise of the night was that the answer was just our starting center, Zaza Pachulia.
The Pelicans still did damage: 30 points and 14 rebounds for Anthony Davis, who pushed Draymond Green into the red all night. But Cousins was limited to just 15 points, 7 rebounds, and countless tantrums on the night because of Zaza Pachulia’s stout defense.
It was an ugly game for the Golden State Warriors, who made a number of unforced errors all evening - but hey, a win is a win....right? All told, the Warriors 10 turnovers as a team to go along with their 30 assists is a very solid night.
As an aside, there is definitely something to be said for how good the Warriors can be - even without Durant.
Curry is their most important player, makes them not just a great team, but transcendent. He’s what makes them special.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 25, 2017
Durant lowers their variance, reduces number of nights a team can sneak up on them.
Curry raises their ceiling, Durant raises their floor.
Wooo, whee that was a stinky beginning to the game.
The Warriors started the game off shooting horribly — 25% in the first quarter as a team including a icy cold 1-11 from deep.
It wasn’t just that the shots weren’t falling, but that the team just looked out of sorts. Steph Curry threw a couple of errant passes that were flat out bad. An ill-advised bounce pass through traffic that Casspi couldn’t catch up to, and another lob pass that McCaw barely managed to keep in bounds. I don’t know, maybe this all goes together but so far this year, it has seemed like the defense isn’t going to carry us through these non-scoring stretches as well as last season.
I know he’s earned the right to have a bad moment or two, but it’s still tough to watch. Feels...weird.
Been a weird half in Oracle. Davis and Cousins combine for 15 points, Curry shoots 1/11, and the Warriors are tied with the Pels 53-53. GSW with only 6 turnovers, though— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) November 26, 2017
Down 14 after one, behind the Pelicans Jrue Holliday’s 17-point explosion.
Second quarter started smartly with a quick Shaun Livingston layup underneath the basket, a defensive stop, and then a trip to the free throw line for David West off a nifty dime from Andre Iguodala and then Klay Thompson broke his short drought and hit two threes.
The Warriors trailed by 14 and now trail by 3, 3;58 left in the 2nd quarter...the Warriors are outscoring the Pelicans 23-12 in the 2nd quarter...GSW is 3-13 from three— Tim Roye (@warriorsvox) November 26, 2017
Tied at 53 apiece at the half.
The third quarter felt a bit more normal, with the Warriors outplaying the Pelicans on both sides of the court - as they tend to do to most teams in the third quarter
Draymond Green picked up his 5th foul at 8:25 in the 3rd on a fairly innocuous reach in - fitting follow up to his 4th foul moments earlier - which was also pretty questionable. But the Warriors managed to pull out to a little lead on the strength of team defense and Steph Curry’s shooting.
The biggest miracle of the 4th quarter was that somehow, Draymond Green did not foul out.
As was the case for most of the season, the Warriors bench was a deciding advantage as player after player came off the pine to contribute. In a game of matchups, the Warriors depth allows coach Steve Kerr to selectively deploy various personnel.
Shaun Livingston is a machup nightmare for shorter guards who lack speed. Poor Jameer Nelson tried his best but there were a number of open looks for Livingston throughout the game.
Livingston just drove through the key for a one-handed dunk to put Warriors within 41-36. Don't see that every game.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) November 26, 2017
Zaza Pachulia was a critical foil in the middle, bumping and stopping bullish DeMarcus Cousins on defense while displaying veteran savvy on the other end - plus a pair of rare dunks from the big man from the Republic of Georgia.
The Pelicans actually managed to keep it close all the way to the end. Even though Cousins was well-contained, the Pelicans were still within striking distance till the end of the game.
Curry ended the game with 28 and 8, Klay Thompson chipped in 33 points on 20 shots, and Andre Iguodala put up 14 off the bench.
Hahaha!! Steph lost a bet to Javale McGee awhile back, and here is day one of the payoff.
Warriors win. Steph fulfills part 1 of his fanny pack bet loss with JaVale. pic.twitter.com/QasfXOcbcV— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 26, 2017
Finally, a quick shout out to our old pal Ian Clark. Given their long and storied history of pregame antics, Steph Curry was fittingly the one to present Clark’s Championship ring to him prior to the game.
The Golden State Warriors are off tomorrow, so see you Monday night for a matchup against NorCal rival Sacramento Kings.