The Golden State Warriors dismantled the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night, leaving the Smoothie King Center with a 130-102 victory. It was the Dubs third consecutive win, all of which have come on the road, and it secured a clean sweep on the team’s first back-to-back of the schedule, after a Sunday night win over the Houston Rockets. It’s way too early to make any proclamations, but this Warriors team looks markedly different from last season’s team. Part of it is the cohesive depth. Part of it is the early success on the road. But the biggest piece remains Steph Curry’s transcendent abilities.
Expectations for the highly-anticipated matchup waned a bit after it was announced that Klay Thompson, Jonathan Kuminga, and Brandon Ingram were out with injuries. However, both teams seemed evenly matched through the first quarter, with neither team able to build a lead larger than three.
Pelicans star Zion Williamson, however, was limited by foul trouble all night, and as both squads’ depth was tested, Golden State began to pull away in the second quarter.
Moses Moody seamlessly stepped in for Thompson in the starting lineup and rookies Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis seamlessly stepped into the second unit for Kuminga. Golden State will obviously need Thompson and Kuminga if they are going to be a title contender this season, but they are also two players who can become the center of attention offensively. With both of them out, the Warriors offense had no choice but to revolve around either Curry or Chris Paul.
Jackson-Davis was easily the bench’s shining star, recording 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in just under 20 minutes. Jackson-Davis was doing more than just filling a stat sheet. The rookie second-round pick never looked overwhelmed on either side of the ball, and looked like he may be capable of already serving as a backup center. As the Warriors try to ensure Draymond Green does not get worn down with too many minutes at center, that could be a huge positive development.
The Warriors went on a 13-1 run to finish the third quarter, extending the lead to 98-78. On the second half of a back-to-back, no one would have batted an eye if Steve Kerr left Curry on the bench for the entirety of the fourth quarter. Instead, Curry returned to the floor a few minutes later for one more explosive barrage.
Curry has never liked talking about pursuing personal accolades, but it sure seems like he’s playing with the MVP on his mind. The two-time winner of the prestigious award finished Monday’s contest with 42 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the field in just 30 minutes of action. It’s early, but Curry is quickly establishing himself as the NBA’s early-season MVP favorite.
Following the perfect three-game road trip, the Warriors will return home for another game against the Kings on Wednesday night. Opening tip at Chase Center is scheduled for 7:00 PM Pacific.