The night started off pretty close with the Warriors leading the Pelicans by a single point after the first quarter. Rajon and his teammates were certain to push the pace, after insisting throughout the first round they were more than a "feel good story". While the Warriors controlled and dissected the Spurs in the first round, they never quite captured the invincibility that has defined their peak moments over the past four years.
If all goes as planned, the Golden State Warriors could finally have the long awaited playoff debut of starting point guard Stephen Curry by Tuesday - as hyped by the Splash Brother and the face of the franchise himself. Warriors coach Steve Kerr, however, added, "I fully expect him to play Tuesday night" for Game 2. But the playoffs are here and our guys feel that.
If it looks like the normally low-key Jrue Holiday has been having the time of his life in the National Basketball Association playoffs - from interacting with fans after big shots to, in one instance, mocking an opponent who'd been dunked on - the Pelicans' guard offers an explanation. From there it was a brisk walk down the Green Mile for New Orleans on its way to a 123-101 opening game loss.
The defending champions are dominating again, and now Stephen Curry is ready to rejoin the mix and make them that much better.
The results were devastating and demoralizing. Draymond Green was exceptional in this game notching a triple-double with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists. Davis is an unstoppable force on both ends when healthy and focused, Holiday is playing like an All-Star, Mirotic is on fire (averaging 25.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.6 threes on a 46.4 percent clip during the nine-game winning streak) and the role players have been solid. Jrue Holiday, who had his way with Portland's undersized backcourt, struggled to contend with Durant's length.
"The most I'd ever done of any team was when I was doing college baseball in 2005, and in 2005, Tulane went all the way to the College World Series, so we did more than 60 baseball games in over five months or more", Kelley said.
Bearing all that in mind, here are the New Orleans Pelicans' five keys to the series against Golden State. "The Spurs, they are a little older, so they play a little more methodical".
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said his team have been preparing for Curry to play. This is not anything new to the league, really. Golden State manipulated the Pelicans defense and outscored them 41-21.
Now, with the team advancing to the Western Conference semifinals, the Warriors are beginning to find their championship-level defensive effort. He had to take on a bigger load within the Warriors offense, and he responded well. The Warriors not only set a tone for the rest of the series in Game 1 but also stopped all the momentum a confident New Orleans group had coming into the week. The decision came down to the fact that Curry has only played one 5-on-5 contact scrimmage since he sprained his left MCL in a March 23 win over Atlanta.