Think about this for a minute. The New Orleans Pelicans scored 28 points in the second quarter, shot 61% from the floor, yet saw their deficit increase by three points from where it stood at the end of the first. That pretty much sums up the first round game between the Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors.
Regardless of what adjustments the Pelicans made, how hard they fought or what personnel they employed, they were simply out-manned and overmatched by a Warriors team that looked unstoppable.
And while this game seemed out of hand before the buzzer sounded, ending the first half, the Warriors played an absolutely imperfect game, which should have the rest of the NBA thoroughly petrified.
Steph Curry, while leading his team in scoring with 34 points, only shot 4-of-13 from behind the arc. To his credit, he proved he is more than capable of leading this team even when the long ball isn’t falling. Klay Thompson had an overwhelmingly mediocre game, shooting only 35 percent from the floor and finishing with 21 rather unspectacular points. Harrison Barnes disappeared and failed to score a single point after scoring 10 in the first quarter. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut allowed Anthony Davis to score at will in the fourth quarter, and he almost single-handedly completed a magical comeback.
While the Warriors may not have been their typically-lethal selves, especially late in the game, this year’s team has enough depth, versatility and resilience to persevere and find different ways to win.
Green blanketed Davis most of the day, and Davis didn’t settle into the game or look comfortable in a playoff setting until the fourth quarter when he moved to the center position. Bogut seemed to be omnipresent, grabbing rebounds (14), getting buckets (12 ), dishing out assists (5) and blocking shots (2 ). Andre Iguodala did his thing, quietly leading the second-unit helping to withstand several Pelican runs while the starters were resting.
And most importantly, while it seemed tenuous at times, they held their ground and came out on top despite their obviously flawed game. Even when the Pelicans cut the lead to five points late in the fourth quarter, there was never a feeling that they would actually come out victorious. To their credit, they showed heart, conviction and resilience by climbing back into contention when things could have gotten really ugly.
There’s always the possibility that the Pelicans regroup and respond in the next game or when the series heads to the bayou. Their furious comeback at the end of the game certainly bodes well for that possibility.
But if I could give one piece of advice to the Pelicans it would be to not sweat this loss, or any of their future losses, too much. They showed that they belong in this game, but they need to keep in mind that they are facing one of the best teams in the past 20 years. I’m not sure any team will be able to slow them down, especially once they actually play a good game.