The Golden State Warriors couldn’t pull off a sweep in The Big Easy, and narrowly lost their Tuesday night game to the New Orleans Pelicans. For much of the game it looked liked the Dubs would be able to leave with a win, but they ran out of gas down the stretch in the final game of a four-game road trip.
To see where things went right and where they went wrong, let’s turn to the pregame keys to victory from my preview.
Get a quick start
The key: Start fast again, and put the Pelicans in a hole.
The outcome: It was a back-and-forth affair in the first quarter, with both teams leading for about half of the opening frame. The Warriors biggest lead was a mere five points, and that was immediately deleted by a Pelicans run.
We’ve seen the Dubs have some truly awful first quarters lately, so ending the first frame with a 34-32 lead felt decent. But it certainly didn’t hit this key.
Grading the key: 3 out of 10.
The key: Don’t let Zion Williamson live at the free throw line, and avoid the fouls.
The outcome: Williamson attempted eight free throws, which is slightly below his season average. So while the Warriors didn’t exactly limit the second-year star’s free throw attempts, they didn’t let him live at the line, either.
On the whole, the Warriors did an average job at limiting free throws. They only committed 17 fouls — a good number for them — but those fouls resulted in 22 New Orleans free throws. The bigger issue for the Dubs was the other side of the coin: the Pelicans only committed nine fouls all night, and the Warriors shot just seven free throws.
Grading the key: 4 out of 10.
Let Steph work
The key: Let chef Steph Curry cook.
The outcome: Curry attempted 31 shots, which was tied for his season high. He shot early and often, and for the first two and a half quarters, it seemed like it would lead the Warriors to victory. But he got cold lately and nobody stepped up in his absence.
We’re spoiled by Curry, because my instinct is to call 37 points on 57.2% true-shooting an off-night for him and, honestly, it is! But it was still a very good performance.
The Warriors let the offense run through Curry, and while his teammates didn’t always do a good job cutting and spacing the floor, they did give him the rock so he could cook.
Grading the key: 8.5 out of 10.
Not quite enough for a win. But almost.