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How about those Pelicans?!?

The Warriors will likely play the surging New Orleans Pelicans in the next round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody saw this coming.

When DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles tear in February, it seemed the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t have the depth to replace him. But this ragtag group has been playing better recently than before his injury.

Most thought the Portland Trail Blazers would beat Pelicans in a tough first round series, and a few thought New Orleans would even win. But the Pelicans are up 3-0, and on the verge of a sweep today; a series with the Golden State Warriors, also up 3-0 in their series, is basically guaranteed.

Everybody knows Anthony Davis is an MVP-caliber player. He’s been amazing playing center, providing both tremendous scoring and elite defense. He’s too quick for Jusuf Nurkic, and could be a true problem against the Warriors as well: he might be too skilled and fast for Golden State’s centers, and too tall for Draymond Green.

But Davis is not alone. Rajon Rondo is somehow good again after years of decline, and Nikola Mirotic is not only shooting the lights out, but playing decent defense as well. Point guard Jrue Holiday is probably the breakout star of the playoffs: not only has he been scoring efficiently, he’s completely shut down Damian Lillard this series.

The Pelicans haven’t just been beating the Trail Blazers—they’ve destroyed them completely. This is a scary team, and although they aren’t deep, their top five or six players are playing out of their minds.

The Warriors should have the tools to stop them. Stephen Curry should return at some point during the series, and although he meets a difficult matchup with Jrue Holiday, he should be able to jumpstart the Warriors’ offense into high gear. The Warriors might have a tough time guarding Anthony Davis, but the Pelicans will have a tougher time guarding Kevin Durant. The Warriors have the talent advantage, but if Anthony Davis figures out how to beat the Warriors’ defense, it could be frightening.

The Warriors were probably happy to see the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Spurs on their side of the bracket instead of the Timberwolves, Jazz, and Thunder. But the Pelicans have since proven that they are for real.

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