Warriors Hold Off Pelicans To Claim Game One
The Warriors led by more than twenty points in the third quarter, and Oracle Arena was threatening to swallow the Pelicans whole. They fought hard, but it still wasn't enough.
Playing on the road in the most hostile home environment in the NBA, the Pels didn't break when it could have been convenient. With less than ten seconds remaining, the team only trailed by four points. For their first taste of the playoffs, some would view that alone as a victory. Unfortunately, moral victories and growth don't count in the series tally.
With the 106-99 victory, the Warriors pick up the first game in a series that is sure to surprise casual fans with its level of competition.
The Pelicans showed that they won't allow Golden State to trample their spirit and walk all over them on their way to a sweep. They may have a bit more to bargain for than they first anticipated. They knew Anthony Davis was going to be a factor, but they still couldn't slow him down.
Davis was the catalyst in the fourth quarter surge, and he posted another monster scoreline (35 pts, 13-23 FG, 7 rebs, 4 blks) in his first appearance on the playoff stage. Andrew Bogut and the stiff Warriors defense did force him into four turnovers, which is about the only thing to nitpick about.
Quincy Pondexter was stroking it in the loss, posting 20 points (7-14 FG, 3-7 3pt, 3-4 FT) and a suprising nine rebounds, six assists and two steals to boot. Unfortunately for the Pels, Eric Gordon was the only other player on the stat sheet to break double-figures with 16 points. The box score points right to the problem, and it has nothing to do with an individual stat line.
Golden State jumped out to a 28-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, largely due to a sluggish and inefficient offensive start by the Pelicans. New Orleans outscored the Warriors by 11 in the second half, but they dug too deep of a hole to climb out of without a miracle...or a metaphorical grappling hook.
The likely league MVP, Steph Curry, heated up his home court for 34 points (13-25 FG), but he only made 4-13 from deep and his fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, only shot 6-17 from the floor on the day. Steve Kerr's team adjusted and responded like a hopeful champion by getting double-digit performances from the other three starters as well.
Most predictions have the Warriors sweeping New Orleans out of the playoffs, and nobody expects them to win the series. After their game one performance, the Warriors are sure to pay the Pelicans the respect they earned in game one. Maybe we should do the same.