Pelicans Beat Warriors, Improve Playoff Push
Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis feels his team can beat anybody. In the second half of Tuesday night's pivotal game against the NBA best Golden State Warriors, Davis and his teammates proved it.
After going 2-10 from the field in the first half, Davis scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half, sinking two free throws in the final ten seconds to help the Pelicans get by the Warriors 103-100.
"It was one of the most fun games I've played in," said Davis. "We're glad we came out on top."
Trailing by 12 at the half, New Orleans looked like a different team in the second half, showing Golden State that the game would be much more than a scrimmage.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game," explained Davis. "We just wanted to defend...We made some big time stops."
Warriors superstar Steph Curry scored 25, including 5 triples, and had an open look at a game-tying three in the final seconds after getting away with a traveling call. Fortunately for the Pelicans, the basketball rimmed out, and the Pelicans procured a respectable victory.
"We feel like we're a better team than people think we are and expect us to be," Davis said. "We've got to keep fighting."
If the fight leads to the Pelicans earning the 8 seed, they would face the Warriors in the first round.
Davis may have been the player of the game, but New Orleans forward Quincy Pondexter was a close runner-up, dropping 20 points, including a perfect 4-4 night from beyond the arc, including a game-tying three in the final minutes that tied the game at 95.
"We had a heck of a game down the stretch," Pondexter said. "Everyone's hungry. We're young guys, but we're learning how to win."
New Orleans last made the playoffs in 2011. Pondexter was a rookie for that New Orleans Hornets team, before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies the next offseason.
New Orleans (42-35) now leads the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-36) by a half game in the Western Conference standings, but own the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series.
With 5 games left on their schedule, the Pelicans could go 4-1 and secure the 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, even if the Thunder go undefeated in their final 4 games. Another loss by OKC would give the Pelicans more breathing room, but as it currently stands, the Pels control their own playoff destiny, with a tiny bit of breathing room.
The Thunder's remaining schedule is as follows: vs Sacramento Kings (27-50) Friday, at Indiana Pacers (34-43) Sunday, vs Portland Trail Blazers (50-27) Monday, and at Minnesota Timberwolves (16-61) on Wednesday, April 15th.
New Orleans remaining schedule is tougher, with only one remaining opponent holding a losing record. The Pelicans travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies (52-25) Wednesday night, before returning home for a Friday night matchup with the Phoenix Suns (39-39). Sunday they face the Houston Rockets (53-24) on the road, before a quick turnaround for a road game against Minnesota (16-61) on Monday. The final game of the season is set for next Wednesday in a home game versus the San Antonio Spurs (52-26).