The Golden State Warriors have secured a 2-0 series lead in the second round versus the battered, yet unflinching New Orleans Pelicans. The first two games were an uptempo track meet, with a smattering of physical and verbal confrontations sprinkled into the gaps of high-speed basketball. The Warriors ran the Pelicans out of Oakland with a combination of lively, bold, defensive pressure mixed with bloodthirsty, opportunistic offense.
Oh yeah, and greatest point guard alive Stephen Curry came back from a five week absence and started flamethrowing.
WHAT: Round 2, Game 3 — Warriors lead 2-0 in the series
WHEN: Friday, May 4th 5:00 p.m PST
WHERE: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
Blog Buddy: The Bird Writes
Injury report for tomorrow night's Game 3 at New Orleans: Patrick McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is out.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) May 3, 2018
Pelicans: Alexis Ajinca (Right Knee) DeMarcus Cousins (Left Achilles Rupture) Frank Jackson (Right Foot Fracture), Out
Now, the reigning, defending, NBA champions descend into the “Big Easy” for a Game 3 showdown inside the raucous confines of the Smoothie King Center. The last time the Pelicans played at home this postseason, the world witnessed them finish a sweep of the #3 seed Portland Trail Blazers by ripping Damian Lillard’s still-beating heart out of the “Rip City’s” chest cavity.
Then again, the last time the Warriors played a Game 3 in New Orleans up 2-0 in the series, they overcame a 20 point fourth quarter deficit and kicked the Pelicans into an abyss that took three years to climb out of.
Have you seen Curry’s iconic bomb from that night via the fan camera angle? My favorite part is the fact that he’s football tackled into the audience, directly in front of the referee... and no foul gets called.
HOW DID HE NOT GET WHISTLE THERE?! Even the NBA sheepishly admitted they should have called an “And-1” there later on.
Anyways, champions don’t cry about past fouls; let’s move on from 2015 and into the current day.
Warriors are playing the right way this postseason
Steve Kerr once said, “I’m interested to see if we can take better care of the ball and keep ourselves under 20 turnovers. That’s my magic number, anything under 20, I’ll be pleased.” Out of curiosity, I investigated this “magic” number personally: The Warriors are 49-14 in the postseason under Commander Kerr when their turnovers don’t hit that 20 watermark.
Funny enough, that streak started against the Pelicans three springs ago. Kerr has to be feeling like Siegfried and/or Roy right now, because the Dubs are averaging just over 14 turnovers so far in this series.
Additionally, the Warriors are averaging just over 34 assists per game this series. Their phenomenal assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.37 denotes they are moving the ball with purpose, leading scorers to their comfort zones throughout the Pelicans defense. We know turnovers sap away offensive momentum and feed the other team easy opportunities to score. The Warriors have limited the Pelicans to 108 points per game, while shredding them for 122 PPG of their own. Kerr has to be pleased.
Also, let’s not forget: the greatest offensive weapon in the game has returned, #StephBack
On the defensive side of the ball, the champions are forcing the Pelicans into tough shots and keeping them off of the foul line. The Dubs have limited the Pelicans’ offense to 44% shooting from the field, 33% from three-point range, and 10 attempted free throws per contest. This is a far-cry from the damage New Orleans did to Portland’s eighth ranked (regular season) defense. The Pellies ripped the Blazers for 52% shooting from the floor, 40% from beyond the arc, and in their four games attempted 10, 19, 21, and 39 free-throws respectively.
Speaking of free throws...
Free throws in the two Oracle games: Warriors 59, Pelicans 20. Anthony Davis got 0 attempts in Game 2. Steve Kerr on G3: “We’re going to get some fouls called on us early.” https://t.co/AcxvrRK6dN— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 4, 2018
Anthony Davis, asked about his lack of trips to foul line in Golden State series: "I just go out there and play. It’s on the refs to make calls. They said I didn’t get fouled, so maybe I have to go in there a little stronger, and force them to call them."— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) May 3, 2018
Breakdown of fouls and FT attempts for reg. season vs playoffs. GSW attempting 39% more FTs and NOP attempting 51% less FTS in playoffs than reg. season meetings. Also GSW starters playing harder(?) defense and committing 27% less fouls while Pels starters are called for 9% more. pic.twitter.com/CJ8UILp1M1— Kempleton Pack (@orloftan) May 2, 2018
Wait, wait, so NOW the Pelicans care about uncalled fouls??? Wow, the nerve.
Anytime free throws become part of the discussion around a game, you know the series has the potentially to get officiated bizarrely. I have no idea what to expect from the refs in Game 3 in Louisiana, but I have a sneaking suspicion there will be ample opportunities for Draymond Green’s “patience” to be tested.
Gold-Blooded Prediction: Warriors will overcome possible referee nullification and a wild New Orleans crowd to deliver another Game 3 heartbreaker to the Pelicans, 118-112.
May the 4th be with them!