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Warriors vs. Pelicans Preview: One last look before we add Demarcus Cousins

After smashing the Denver and taking back position atop the West, Golden State returns home for one game before hitting the road for two weeks.

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors

After a late night in Colorado, the Golden State Warriors loaded themselves into an airplane and flew home last night. The weary Warriors are headed right back into the fray, as they host Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans tonight at Oracle.

WHO: New Orleans Pelicans (21-23) at Golden State Warriors (30-14)

WHEN: Wednesday, January 16th, 2019; 7:30pm

WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA

WATCH: ESPN

WRADIO: 95.7 The Game

Blog Buddy: The Bird Writes

You ready to Boogie?

I have to imagine that when he returns to the court almost exactly one year after tearing his Achilles tendon, Demarcus Cousins isn’t going to look the same. I don’t know exactly what he’s going to look like, but I’m extremely comfortable predicting it’ll be different. The Warriors, I assume, will hold similar sentiments.

But one thing is for sure: the Warriors want to look good right now as a sort of mental warfare against the league. After all, if you thought this team was unfairly good before... just wait till you see what happens next.

Facing the unknown impact of this new addition, the Warriors have been talking a lot about establishing a good baseline for the team. Coach Steve Kerr confirmed yesterday that “there’s no chance” Cousins will play tonight - meaning this will be the Warriors’ final tune-up before adding a major new component to this team.

Back-to-back rest?

Although no one played extended minutes last night, given the high altitude, late night, and number of decrepit knees on the bench, don’t be surprised if Kerr rests one of the fragile veterans. If nothing else, this is another game where the Warriors will prioritize jumping out on the opponent early - a brutal, drag out fight that extends to overtime is something the Warriors will be loathe to fall into.

As Kerr said, “you play tonight and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.” Based on his comments, it doesn’t sound like the team is planning on resting anybody but rather prefers to just keep the minutes as spread out as possible.

Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are waiting in Oakland

No big new surprises from New Orleans as they’ve still got one of the most difficult frontcourts in the league. Led by Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have an elite offense but struggle a bit on defense. Looks like another shoot out!

Other than Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have a couple of players that will have to be contended with. Firstly, they’ve got a healthy Jrue Holiday — one of the rarest, and most under-rated of all ballers in the land. He’s been hurt so often, and at such critical times, that it’s all too easy to forget how good this guy is. He’s no Stephen Curry, but if the Warriors lose focus or get in foul trouble, Holiday could get loose.

Also, watch for Julius Randle — a sort of Draymond Green-esque Point Forward that is having a great year. He’s extremely clever at sneaking into the gaps left when teams double Anthony Davis, and without a ton of size inside, it’s pretty much certain that the Warriors will indeed be sending those doubles. Golden State stomped the Nuggets’ offense last night by aggressively doubling Jokic on the block — how they deal with Randle is going to go a long way in determining how successful this same strategy will be against New Orleans.

Twice the offense, half the defense!
screen capture, google search result from basketballreference.com

Prediction

Why even play defense when offense is so fun?

The Warriors just absolutely smacked the Denver Nuggets and won’t slow down against another tough opponent.

Warriors 245 - Pelicans 212

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