Warriors Outlast Pelicans in Defensive Slugfest, win 110-95
A day after dismantling the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors (14-5) would face the New Orleans Pelicans (11-8) at home. This game was the debut of the Warriors’ all-black “The Town” jerseys. The Warriors would have to play the game without Kevin Durant, who was still sitting out with a sprained left ankle. Draymond Green returned to the lineup after resting against the Chicago Bulls. The Warriors would go on to win 110-95.
The first quarter saw the Warriors shoot the ball extremely poorly, and the Pelicans’ shoot extremely well. The Pelicans are the second best shooting team in the NBA, behind the Warriors, but in the opening quarter, they shot 50% from the field, including 62.5% from deep. The Warriors shot 25.9% from the field, and two big contributors to that were Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined to go 1-13 with 4 points. The Pelicans were led by Jrue Holliday, who scored the same amount of points as the entire Warriors team with 17 points. The Pelicans led after the first quarter, 31-17.
In the second quarter, the Warriors stormed back to tie the game on the back of Klay Thompson and a strong performance from the bench. After scoring just two points in the opening quarter, Klay got hot and scored 14 in the second, 12 of which came on threes. The Warriors’ shooting percentage rose from 25% to 39.6%, while the Pelicans’ shooting percentage dropped to 40%. Jrue Holiday led all scorers with 20 points, but most importantly, he no longer had as many points as the entire Warriors team. The Warriors played great defense and held the Pelicans to just 22 points in the second quarter. At the half, the score was tied, 53-53.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with the Warriors ultimately putting the foot on the gas at the end of the quarter. After having just five points in the first half, Steph scored 14 in the quarter, and had 19 points going into the fourth. Zaza Pachulia had a great defensive quarter, and had been great on defense throughout the game to that point, holding DeMarcus Cousins to just 9 points on 3-8 shooting. Both teams shot 42% through three quarters, and after the third, the Warriors led 84-75.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors play very solid defense in order to grind out a win. The Warriors were able to hold the Pelicans to just 20 points in the final quarter, and forced the Pelicans to commit 17 turnovers. Zaza Pachulia had an especially good defensive game, picking up three steals, and holding DeMarcus Cousins to 15 points on 5-11 shooting. The Warriors won the game, 110-95.
After a slow start to the game, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson picked it up and combined for 51 points. Four Warriors scored in double figures, and every active player scored except for JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell. The Warriors weren’t their normal selves on offense, but they did enough to outscore the Pelicans while shooting just 30% from beyond the arc.
My main takeaway from this game was that I still think that the Pelicans’ duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is awkward and doesn’t really work. They are both bigs who play the same way, and having them on the same team, taking opportunities away from each other just doesn’t make sense to me. I still don’t understand why they made the trade with the Kings to begin with, because the league has moved towards a guard-centric offense, and the Pelicans just went the complete opposite way and added a SECOND all-star center. While both players are great, DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent after this season and is likely to sign a max contract somewhere else. I think that the pairing could be a lot better if they added some perimeter scoring to the roster, instead of aging guards like Rajon Rondo, who can’t shoot threes. The pairing is also awkward because the way each of them plays, it makes it hard for them to both have a great game on the same night.
In tonight’s game, Anthony Davis dropped 30 points on the Warriors because he always scored on Draymond Green regardless of how well Draymond defends him. He led the Pelicans in scoring with Jrue Holliday close behind with 24 points.
The Warriors play next on Monday, November 27, against the Sacramento Kings at 7:30 p.m.