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Preview: Warriors look to impress Cousins as Pelicans come to Oakland

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The red-hot Warriors encounter a limping Pelicans team in a playoff rematch. Anthony Davis may not play, but the Warriors want to make a statement for DeMarcus Cousins against the team that let him go.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (7-1) vs New Orleans Pelicans (4-2)

When: 7:30PM PST on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Where: Oracle Arena — Oakland, California

How to watch: ESPN, NBCSBA, FSNO

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Buddy Blog: The Bird Writes

Injuries

Warriors: Shaun Livingston (sore right foot) questionable, DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles’ rehab) out.

Pelicans: Anthony Davis (sprained right elbow) questionable, Darius Milller (right quad) doubtful, Elfrid Payton (right ankle) out.

Happy Halloween!

The reigning, defending world champion Golden State Warriors seem to have been in a Halloween spirit the entire month of October. For Dub Nation, watching the Warriors play beautiful basketball is like a grateful child gleefully dumping out an overstuffed bag of candy onto the kitchen table after a night of trick-or-treating. For the rest of the NBA, the champs are a horrifying force that stalks them in their nightmares, crawls out from under their beds, and drops 92 points on them by halftime.

Having a good time while scaring the life outta your neighbor, that’s what Halloween is all about, right? And nobody is better at weaponizing joy and spreading terror than the champs. Just listen to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst describe it in his own words:

Wait, did he just use my gold-blooded catchphrase? He literally just said “they’ve weaponized joy”. Well damn, I had no idea GSoM was baptizing the entire NBA world into the knowledge of Splash.

Still, I am curious as to what is the force that is multiplying the Warriors joy this season...

Is Boogie Cousins motivating the Warriors to new heights?

When my parents first gave me my own room as boy, I spent the first couple of weeks obsessively tidying. I spent hours agonizing over keeping my bed made, ordering the books on the shelf and lining up the cases of my Sega Genesis games. After a month, the novelty wore off and my floor was littered with empty Funyuns bags and dirty laundry. It was my room after all, I felt no outside compulsion to change it.

Unless that is, a friend of mine was coming over. Then, there wasn’t enough Pine Sol as I ratcheted up the attention to cleanliness. It was supremely important that I made a good impression on any guest I entreated into my domain.

After they yawned their way to championship season last year, I wonder if the Warriors’ renewed offensive pyrotechnics and focused defense are partly in response to their new guest, the injured Olympian behemoth, DeMarcus Cousins.

As Cousins rehabs his damaged Achilles tendon and watches from the bench, the Warriors are showing him the ways of the Golden Empire with spectacular beatdown after spectacular beatdown.

The Power of Determined Unselfishness

It’s been well documented that the Warriors have already unleashed three of the most prolific individual scoring binges in NBA history during the beginning of this young season. But let’s not forget the Dubs lead the league in assists per game at 29.6, and also lead the league in field goal percentage at 52.3%.

Per Basketball Reference: The 2016-2017 Warriors tied the Showtime Lakers for the highest offensive rating in NBA history at 115.6. Eight games into this season, the current Warriors have an O-Rating of 121.7, despite their superstars sitting out various 4th quarters because head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t like pouring on during blowouts.

Let me get this straight: Golden State leads the league in assists and offensive efficiency, but their superstars still get copious amounts of shine? This is what happens when a team full of superstars unselfishly works for the good of their brothers, always eager to feed whoever has the hot hand.

The part that may get lost in the orgasmic offensive onslaught is the immense value the Warriors place on getting defensive stops. The champs are forcing opponents to shoot a shivering cold 44% from the field, good enough for eighth best in the league. The team understands how to communicate the switching defensive scheme and provide swarming help for each other whenever a potential breach occurs.

Cousins has been watching up close and personal on the Warriors “Best Friends Destroy the World” tour, and has to be itching to return. I’m pretty sure he’ll be watching extra close for tonight’s game as the champs meet the team that abandoned him after he sacrificed his body and nearly ended his All-Star career desperately trying to carry them.

“BOOGIE” CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HIS OLD TEAMMATES!

The Pelicans are N.O. slouch

Hmm. That’s interesting. Every time I look up a statistic to further glorify the Golden Dynasty, I notice the New Orleans Pelicans lurking just below in the rankings.

Are the Pelicans an offensive juggernaut?

Here are some stats for the Birds at the time of this article:

  • 3rd in offensive rating this season behind the Dubs and Blazers...and by 3rd ranked I mean in all of NBA HISTORY.
  • 5th in field goal percentage (49%).
  • 2nd in assists (27.7 per game)
  • 4th in fastest pace (106.75)

This team won their first four games before superstar Anthony Davis went down with an elbow injury. Their two losses came in his absence to the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, two teams that gave the Dubs some trouble earlier this season (Denver beat the champs by two points).

Former Warriors’ assistant coach Alvin Gentry has the Pelicans flying around the court at a breakneck pace designed to space the floor and exhaust opponents. Davis has thrived in the system, averaging 27 points, 13 rebounds, 4.8 assists and nearly 4 blocks per game. He’s shooting 52% from the field and 58% from downtown. His dominant play in the uptempo offense after Cousins’ injury last year led to a major playoff run and may have contributed to why the Pelicans allegedly weren’t too pressed to bring Boogie back.

Unfortunately, Davis may not be able to play. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will have to take over for the team if Davis is a no-go. He’s solid offensive option and a tarantula on defense.

Then again, playing good defense against the Warriors usually just means your face is more centered in the inevitable, soul-rattling highlight film.

Gold-Blooded Prediction

The Warriors continue to introduce Cousins to brotherly love and winning ways by raining hellfire on the Pelicans in an up-and-down contest, whether Davis plays or not.

Warriors 125, Pelicans 109