Friday night wasn’t much fun. The Warriors played sloppy, unfocused basketball, and Anthony Davis couldn’t be stopped. The beautiful thing about sports is that you never need to wait long to play again (unless it’s football, which nobody likes anyways).
According to Ayesha Curry’s instagram story, the Warriors noshed on beignets and sipped on Hurricanes after the Game 3 loss. With such culinary delights and some rest, they’ll surely be ready for today’s matinee.
WHO: Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans
WHAT: Round 2, Game 4 — Warriors lead 2-1 in the series
WHEN: Sunday, May 6th 12:30 p.m PST
WHERE: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
Blog Buddy: The Bird Writes
Warriors: Patrick McCaw (back, out)
Pelicans: Alexis Ajinca (right knee, out) DeMarcus Cousins (left achilles, out) Frank Jackson (foot, out)
Game 4 is the new Game 3
The Warriors lost by 19 points on Friday night and deserved it. Before the game, Draymond Green mentioned that Game 3 was the most important game of the series. Game 4 though is the final away game before heading back home. If Warriors return to New Orleans, their visit will only consist of one game.
Game 4 is the new Game 3 and therefore the most important game of the series if the Warriors hope this series stays short. If they can pick up a win tonight, Round 2 is as good as over heading back to the Bay.
Rajon Rondo vs. Draymond Green
The Warriors missed a ton of shots on Friday night. The team shot 29% from three-point range and 38% from the field. Missed shots always make it harder to win. However, this series seems to hinge more on defense and pace than anything else. Rajon Rondo and Draymond Green are serious drivers of defense and pace so we should look to their play in previewing Game 4.
Before the series, I mentioned that the key to stopping New Orleans isn’t limiting Anthony Davis, but in limiting Rajon Rondo on offense. In Game 1, Rondo scored 11 points with 9 assists. The Warriors won by 22 points. In Game 2, Rondo scored 22 points, assisted 12 times but was diminished by 7 turnovers. The Warriors won by 5. In Game 3 we know what happened: Rondo had 4 points, 12 rebounds 21 assists, and only 4 turnovers. 21 ASSISTS!
In Game 3, Green almost had a triple double (11 pts, 9 assists, 12 rebounds) but was responsible for more than half of Golden State’s turnovers. In the first two games, he averaged 18 points and 2 turnovers a game. My high school math teacher told me that correlation never equals causation, but Rondo’s assist and turnover numbers are an excellent indication of how the Pelicans perform.
The key to Game 4: Make life miserable for Rajon Rondo. Draymond Green is good at making life miserable for other players (and sometimes his teammates I bet) so we turn to him.
There will likely be more fireworks between the two players in the series. Green and Rondo both claim they are not trying to bait each other. We have eyes though, and it’s clear that they are.
Did Rondo try to trip Draymond pic.twitter.com/95GYe0z2fV— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 5, 2018
Yes, yes he did try to trip Draymond.
Rajon Rondo on Draymond Green theorizing that Rondo was baiting him, not the other way around: "That's his game. I don't try to bait him. He talks a lot of ish." pic.twitter.com/dHflty9OPQ— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 5, 2018
Rajon Rondo is delusional and clearly the more represensible party in this fight.
Green isn’t the type of player who would step on another player’s ankle. But expect him to come out in Game 4 trying to get under Rondo’s skin. In doing so, it’s crucial that he stay on the court (no foul trouble, including techs) and contribute on offense.
It’s a rare night when both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant struggle from beyond the arc. Sunday is Curry’s third game back from a substantial injury. If he struggles to find a rhythm, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Durant’s 1 of 6 night from three is also not a cause for concern. He almost always finds a way to bounce back. Don’t let the missed shots be a primary cause for concern heading into Game 4. The shots will fall if the Warriors play a focused and crisp brand of offense.
Iguodala, Looney or McGee?
Steve Kerr on the decision to start JaVale pic.twitter.com/uiFRaHb2py— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 5, 2018
Much to Dub Nation’s chagrin, JaVale McGee didn’t really work out as the fifth man on Friday night. He picked up early fouls and struggled to keep up with the Pelican’s speed. For Game 4, Steve Kerr has a decision to make re: starters. He has two options.
- Kevon Looney defended Anthony Davis effectively in the first two games. He runs the floor with Davis and applies ample defensive pressure. Looney, once our baby giraffe, has grown up and can start.
- Go with the Hamptons 5 lineup, start Andre Iguodala, and send your best wishes to Durant and Green to deal with Anthony Davis.
I trust Steve Kerr to make the right decision. That said, I expect Iguodala to start Game 4.
Expect big games from these two.
Prediction: Warriors 128- Pelicans 111