The Golden State Warriors fell to 3-7 on the season after a 114-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, finishing the team’s five-game road trip without recording a win. The Dubs decided to sit Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green in the second half of a back-to-back, forcing Golden State head coach Steve Kerr to rely on the team’s youngsters.
The Warriors quickly dispelled any notion that the Pelicans would dominate the shorthanded rotation. Golden State jumped out to a 23-15 lead thanks to immediate contributions from a pair of players who have barely received any playing time this season: Jonathan Kuminga and Anthony Lamb.
Kuminga has been the lone lottery pick on the outside of Kerr’s rotation this season, but he made a strong case for a more established role. He finished the game with 18 points, but did the bulk of his damage in the first half. One of the best athletes on the team, Kuminga consistently drove inside and attacked the Pelicans interior defense. Lamb, one of the Warriors two-way players, showed off an intriguing outside shooting touch as a stretch four.
The Warriors brought a 27-26 lead into the second quarter, but the Pelicans answered with a 12-0 run. Golden State stopped New Orleans’ momentum but were unable to significantly cut into the deficit and trailed 61-54 at the half.
The Dubs had several runs in them throughout the second half, briefly retaking the lead in the third quarter. However, a fairly healthy Pelicans roster had too much firepower for Golden State to keep up with.
Brandon Ingram scored a game-high 26 points for New Orleans and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists. C.J. McCollum recorded 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists as well. Coming off the bench, Larry Nance Jr. scored 22 points as well.
A great shooting night from Jordan Poole might have been enough to put the Warriors over the top, but his recent shooting struggles continued on Friday. He led the team with 20 points, but was just 5-for-18 from the field. He did rack up 9 assists and drew several fouls, but was far from an efficient scorer.
The Warriors two-way players, Lamb and Ty Jerome, both were key contributors. Lamb was an unexpected insertion in the starting lineup but finished 6-for-9 from the field (4-for-5 from three) with 16 points. Jerome recorded 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench.
As for the other top youngsters, James Wiseman had a quiet 16 minutes, recording 5 points and 6 rebounds, while Moses Moody scored 14 points in 32 minutes of action.
Given the Warriors record, Dub Nation is not looking for moral victories. With that said, the Pelicans are legitimate contenders in the Western Conference. Golden State conceded victory by sitting 80% of their starting lineup and still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see how this impacts Kerr’s rotation going forward.