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Preview: Dominant Warriors ready to slay the Pelicans in the Big Easy

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The longest road trip of the year is more than halfway over and Golden State is playing some their best ball of the season.

Basketball - Olympics: Day 14 Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (17-6) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (12-11)

When: 5:00pm PST - Monday, December 3

Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

How to watch: NBCSBA

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Enemy’s blog: The Bird Writes

Injury report

Last updated 12/3/17, 7:00 p.m. PST

Warriors: Andre Iguodala (probable, knee)

Pelicans: Anthony Davis (out, pelvis)

The love to hate/hate to love road trip

The current Dubs road trip is a combination of the best and worst that NBA life offers. Back-to-back nights in two of best party cities in the country sounds as fun as it’s likely draining. As I write this, the Warriors are still slightly hungover as they are demolishing the Heat. Or at least Steve Kerr and the coaching staff are feeling groggy. The team received a day off in Miami on Saturday, but won’t have the same luxury in New Orleans before their back-to-back.

Minutes distribution/please don’t get ejected

We don’t know yet if Kerr is planning to limit minutes for his stars in New Orleans (Curry was unstoppable last night, but is still battling a hand injury). Against the Heat, the Big 4 played under 32 minutes respectively.

Given the length of the road trip and mild-mannered Shaun Livingston’s second-quarter ejection in Miami, I wouldn’t mind seeing Curry play fewer minutes on Monday night. Predicting minutes though is rarely a successful venture for me, but we should keep the possibility open for the bench (Nick Young and Omri Casspi side eye emoji*) to see big minutes.

DeMarcus Cousins

Anthony Davis’ injury makes tonight’s game less attractive to the casual fan, but intrigue still looms over this matchup. The Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins is one of the top three big men in the NBA and last time I checked, the Warriors have zero top big men but substantial front-court depth. Draymond Green and Kevin Durant will likely share time guarding Cousins, maybe the only star in the league with a temper that rivals Green’s. I’m curious if Jordan Bell or Kevon Looney play on Cousins and how each handles him. Cousins has matured in the last couple years, but this compilation will always be rewatchable.

The Pelicans still have a long way to go

New Orleans’s improvement from last year is striking, but the team still needs another star player to contend. Without Davis, beating the Warriors is a tough proposition. After Davis (25.2 ppg), Cousins (25.6 ppg) and point guard Jrue Holiday (15.4 ppg), NOLA’s next highest scorer is E’Twaun Moore (11.9 ppg) who comes off the bench. While New Orleans has the talent to sneak into the playoffs this year, I can’t envision them as a threat to any elite teams as they lack talent at the wing positions. Tony Allen, Darius Miller, and old friend Ian Clark aren’t going to cut it. For me, the potential for a Cousins trade in the middle of the season is one of the league’s most interesting storylines moving forward.

The Warriors have a big week ahead of them: three games, two of which are on ESPN, all against teams with formidable big men (yes, I’m including Dwight Howard). Keep your eye out for the inside defensive match-ups and if Kerr finds any consistency with his choices. It starts with New Orleans.

Prediction: Warriors 124- Pelicans 108

Warrior Wonder prediction: Klay Thompson