Wrapping up the season with a meaningless back-to-back? Sure, why not!
Expect a whole lot of the bench as the Golden State Warriors roll into the home of the New Orleans Pelicans for a game that will decide... pretty much nothing. With the number one seed in the West locked up for the Warriors and the Pelicans well out of any semblance of contention, this one is going to be all about just running out the clock.
Also, keep an eye on the Houston Rockets game. As explained in glorious detail at The Dream Shake, the Rockets seeding is still very much in question (along with everyone other Western team who isn’t Golden State) — and Tuesday’s game carries heavy implications:
But it all comes back to defeating the Thunder. Win, and it doesn’t matter what Portland does in its two games. With a victory, you simply let the Denver chips fall as they may. A win also allows Houston to avoid the Golden State Warriors until the Western Conference Finals, as the Dubs will get matched up with the winner of the four-seed vs. five-seed matchup.
WHO: Warriors at Pelicans
WHEN: Tuesday, April 9; 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Smoothie King Center — New Orleans, LA
RADIO: 95.7 The Game
Blog Buddy: The Bird Writes
Who are we going to see?
So. Two games left, back-to-back, with absolutely nothing to prove. Early indications are that coach Steve Kerr will keep his options open (see “injury” report below), and I wouldn’t expect any of the main rotation guys to play more than 30 minutes.
The Warriors have proven everything they needed to prove this season. They have the top-ranked offense, and while the defense isn’t quite as dominant as it has been in previous seasons, the switch they flipped in last year’s playoffs should assuage any lingering concerns.
Warriors after 80 games LAST year:— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) April 8, 2019
113.1 Offensive Rating (2nd)
106.7 Defensive Rating (11th)
+6.4 Net (3rd)
Warriors after 80 games THIS year:
115.0 Offensive Rating (1st)
108.4 Defensive Rating (11th)
+6.6 Net (2nd)
Still, one of the issues that we’ve discussed while dealing with injuries all season is that the bulk of our bench minutes go to old crusty guys like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and a recovering DeMarcus Cousins. With Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Andrew Bogut all shelved — and other stars limited to light duty — expect plenty of deep bench appearances early and often.
Injury report for tomorrow night's game at New Orleans: Andrew Bogut (rest), Kevin Durant (rest), Andre Iguodala (left toe soreness) and Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) are out.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) April 9, 2019
For Iguodala, it’s not clear exactly how much of this rest pattern (this would be his fourth straight game off) is associated with an actual injury versus just stockpiling rest so he can come tearing into the playoffs with a completely clean bill of health.
Checking in on Anthony Davis and the Pelicans
Anthony Davis averaged about 26 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.5 blocks per game, but may have very well played his last game in a Pelicans uniform. After failing to force his way to the Lakers, both teams were left in shambles and the recalcitrant New Orleans franchise hung on to their best asset. He’s almost certainly gone and hasn’t even suited up for the last handful of games.
What an absolutely devastating season for the Pelicans. At the end of last season, they appeared to be a perennial playoff team. Anchored by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, they still managed to make some waves by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.
But like a sandcastle placed too close to the ocean, it was all washed away before it was even built. At 33-48, they sit in twelfth place — the horrible no-man’s land of mid first round draft picks and just missing the playoffs. DeMarcus Cousins, reportedly low-balled by the team, decided to pack up and come to the Warriors rather than let a franchise “buy low” on him. Jrue Holiday, as has been a problem for his entire career, is done for the season — out with surgery for an abdominal issue after playing 67 games.
Now the team is in limbo. Hanging between Anthony Davis’ very public trade demands, and a roster that needs some major retooling, it’s not at all clear how this team will look next season. For now though, they’ll have to end the season facing DeMarcus Cousins’ new team and looking up at the playoffs from the outside.
Damion Lee, Quinn Cook and the rest of the bench guys are going to play heavy minutes. For a game that has absolutely no meaning in the broader context of the season, it will still be nice to see some of our lesser used players get some burn.