Warriors Bounce Back from Disappointing Game Three to Obliterate the Pelicans, Win 118-92
After a massively disappointing loss in Game Three, the Golden State Warriors (6-2) took on the New Orleans Pelicans (5-2) in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Warriors were looking to bounce back from a game in which their big three combined to go 23/59 from the field, and their team’s defense was lacking in a way that had not yet been seen in the seven previous playoff games. The Pelicans were looking to build off of a great effort in which they were finally able to shoot like they did in their sweep of the Trail Blazers. After experimenting with JaVale McGee in the starting lineup for Game Three, Steve Kerr opted to go back to his most trusted lineup to begin Game Four: The Hamptons 5. The Warriors went on to win the game 118-92.
The Warriors came out with their guns blazing in the opening minutes of the first quarter. They were playing incredibly on both ends of the floor, scoring 14 points in the first three minutes, while holding the Pelicans to just four points. Anthony Davis had all four of those points for the Pelicans, whereas the Warriors were spreading out the scoring. Kevin Durant hit three mid range jumpers, and was 3-3 in the early going. Klay Thompson was 2-2, hit a mid range jumper and a wide-open corner three, and Stephen Curry hit a three as well. The Warriors were swarming the Pelicans was were looking to put them away early. They forced Alvin Gentry into a timeout after just 3.5 minutes and had a 14-4 lead. Stephen Curry scored the first points after the timeout with a perfect corner three, and Draymond Green then hit a three after the Pelicans gave Anthony Davis two free throws. The Warriors continued to play extremely well and only allowed four more points before the next timeout. The Warriors led 20-8 at the time of the Warriors’ first timeout with just under six minutes left. The timeouts could not slow down the Warriors, who scored seven quick points with another Draymond three as well as a jumper and two free throws from Kevin Durant. The first Pelican who isn’t named Anthony scored, as Jrue Holiday connected on a reverse layup to score the Pelicans 9th and 10th points of the quarter. The Warriors were so good that they forced Alvin Gentry into another timeout with a 27-10 lead. After the timeout, Solomon Hill hit the Pelicans’ first three of the game, and Anthony Davis then connected on two free throws, which cut the lead to 12 points before Kevon Looney threw down a dunk. The bench for the Warriors got some solid playing time as the quarter came to a close, with Shaun Livingston connecting on a layup, Quinn Cook putting up five points, and Jordan Bell finding David West for a dunk off of a perfect pass. The Pelicans were able to score some more as the quarter came to close, but not nearly enough to make it a close game. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer for the Warriors with 10 points, while Draymond Green and Stephen Curry were right behind him with six points each. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 14 points, and no one was even close to matching his offensive output for the Pelicans. As a team, the Warriors shot 60% from the floor, and 55.6% from three, while the Pelicans were held to just 28.6% shooting and 25% from three. At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors had a commanding 37-22 lead over the Pelicans.
The second quarter started off on a strange note, with the Warriors falling asleep on defense and allowing the Pelicans to grab three easy offensive rebounds on one possession before connecting on a basket. This forced Steve Kerr to call a timeout after just 45 seconds, with the lead at 13 points. After that time out, both teams went shot-for-shot for the next ten minutes. Neither team was looking particularly great on the offensive end, but the Pelicans were benefiting from many 50/50 calls and got to the line for 16 free throws by the 2:30 mark of the third quarter. The Pelicans were missing a lot of easy shots around the rim, and that was largely due to the presence of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. Despite the Pelicans getting some rhythm offensively, by the time the second time out of the quarter was called with 2:30 left in the half, the Warriors still had a nine-point lead. The final two minutes of the quarter saw the Warriors get their lead cut to three points, but they then were able to score a couple quick points on a Stephen Curry scoop layup and a free throw line jumper from Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer for the Warriors in the first half, and had 20 points on 8/15 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds. Klay Thompson was the second-highest scorer for the Warriors with nine points. Quinn Cook was incredible off the bench, going 4/5 and scoring eight points, which was more than the entire Pelicans bench combined. The Pelicans were still being led by Anthony Davis, who had 18 points on 5/13 shooting, but went 8/8 from the free throw line. E'Twaun Moore had 11 points as the next-highest scorer for the Pelicans, and nailed a deep three just before the half ended. As a team, the Warriors were still shooting the ball well at 53.1%, but were struggling from three, shooting just 33.3% from beyond the arc. The Pelicans shot 37.2% from the field and 36.4% from thee in the first half, and they were missing a lot of seemingly easy shots from around the hoop. The biggest disparity between the two teams came from the free throw line, where the Pelicans were the beneficiary of many 50/50 calls and questionable fouls (including Draymond Green’s first technical foul of the postseason). The Pelicans went 18/19 from the line whereas the Warriors only went 4/5 from the line. At the half, the Warriors led the Pelicans 61-54.
Kevin Durant opened the third quarter with a dunk in transition off of a nice pass from Draymond Green, which opened the floodgates as Andre Iguodala followed up the dunk with a perfect shot from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson then hit two free throws before Stephen Curry drained his third three of the game. The Pelicans were held to just two points in the first 2:30 as Alvin Gentry called timeout following a foul from Rajon Rondo. Curry’s three moved him up the all-time playoff three pointers made list, as he passed Manu Ginobili and sat alone in the number three spot, 21 threes behind LeBron James. After that timeout, the Warriors continued to pile on, with Kevin Durant making several tough shots, including his first three of the game, which he drained in the face of Anthony Davis. Klay Thompson hit an impressive turnaround fadeaway as well. The most impressive part of the first half of the third quarter was the defense from the Warriors, as they weren’t allowing many open shots and were stifling Anthony Davis, who only had four points in the first six minutes of the quarter. By the time the second timeout was called with 5:14 left in the quarter, the Warriors had a 80-64 lead. The Warriors then closed the quarter with some solid play on both ends to absolutely silence the Smoothie King Center. Kevin Durant hit another nice mid range jumper, Kevon Looney got a putback to fall, and Andre Iguodala hit another three, which was the last basket the Warriors made in the quarter. Kevin Durant was simply exceptional in the third, and by the time it ended he had 33 points on 13/25 shooting. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Quinn Cook all joined him in double figures, but none of them had more than 14 points. Anthony Davis had 24 points to lead the Pelicans, but was shooting 7/18 at the end of the third. As a team, the Warriors shot the ball at a 51.4% clip from the floor and 37.5% from the arc. The Pelicans shot 37.9% from the floor and 23.5% from three. The Warriors turned a 7-point lead at half into a 21-point lead heading to the fourth quarter as the Warriors led the Pelicans 94-73.
Neither team came out hot in the fourth quarter, and each team only made one shot in the 3:30 of the quarter. This was benefitting the Warriors though, who were just trying to gobble up minutes and end the game as quickly as possible, and create as little time as possible for the Pelicans to get anything going. Kerr called a timeout to get his Hamptons 5 lineup back in the game, which resulted in immediate production on a Draymond Green dunk and a Stephen Curry layup. The Pelicans then came back with a layup from Ian Clark, which caused Steve Kerr to call another timeout to prevent any momentum in favor for the Pelicans. The rest of the quarter was simply garbage time, and the Warriors let their starters pay for a bunch of it in order to help Stephen Curry get his rhythm back. The bench then came in and sealed the win for the Warriors. Kevin Durant finished as the game’s leading scorer with an incredible 38 points on 15/27 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block. Anthony Davis finished as the leading scorer for the Pelicans, and he had 26 points on 8/22 shooting. E'Twaun Moore was right behind him with 20 points on a much more efficient 8/14 shooting. The Warriors finished the game shooting 48.4% from the floor and 33.3% from three, while the Pelicans shot just 36.4% from the field and 15.4% from three. The Golden State Warriors hung on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-92.
The Warriors were dominant in this game from start to finish, and a large part of that was due to the Hamptons 5, who combined to shoot 33/73. While Durant was the only one of the starters who was getting his shots to fall on a consistent basis, that is an incredibly good sign for the Warriors, because if the rest of them are able to get going, which they will, then that lineup will be damn-neal unbeatable. Stephen Curry, who has yet to really find his rhythm since returning from injury, had 23 points on 8/17 shooting, and the majority of those points came in the second half. Draymond Green had a great all-around game, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals, and two blocks. The defense that Draymond Green has played on Anthony Davis all series has been simply incredible. Klay Thompson finished with 13 points, and Quinn Cook had 12 points off his own off the bench.
There was simply nothing the Pelicans could do to stop the Warriors today, and while they were able to keep things relatively close in the second quarter, that was largely due to the free throw disparity between the two teams. The Pelicans have been simply overmatched in three of the four games of this series, and it looks like their playoff run will come to an end in Game Five, despite the many hot takes that they would upset the Warriors after sweeping the inferior Trail Blazers.
The Western Conference Semifinals will continue on Tuesday, May 8, in Oakland at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.