Warriors finish off Pelicans in their Second Gentleman's Sweep of the Postseason, Advance to Western Conference Finals to take on the Rockets
After a blowout win in Game Four that saw Kevin Durant ignite for 38 points, the Golden State Warriors (7-2) brought the battle back to the bay against the New Orleans Pelicans (5-3) for Game Five. The Warriors were looking to close out the series after taking a commanding 3-1 lead, and not allow the Pelicans to get any kind of momentum of any kind. The Pelicans were looking to stave off elimination to let their magical playoff run that included an impressive sweep of the Trail Blazers. The Houston Rockets punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals tonight, and the Warriors had the chance to do the same and have the same amount of rest as their potential opponents heading to the conference finals. The Warriors went on to beat the Pelicans 113-104.
Klay Thompson got the ball rolling in the first quarter with a pull-up mid range jumper, and the Pelicans answered right back with two points from Rajon Rondo. The two teams then proceeded to miss every shot they took for the next two minutes, but Klay Thompson ended that drought with a dunk off of a Pelicans turnover. The dunk forced Alvin Gentry to use a timeout, and the Warriors were up 4-2 after three minutes. Jrue Holiday came out of the timeout and buried a corner three, which Stephen Curry responded to with a free throw line jumper. Anthony Davis was able to get going after the timeout with a dunk and a three. Klay Thompson then followed up his strong start with several incredible shots. He hit two threes, played stellar defense, and was running the floor in transition. Kevin Durant was also able to get going by getting to the line off of a rough foul from Nikola Mirotic, and then Durant followed that up with a pull up jumper in the face of Mirotic. Jrue Holiday was the only Pelican able to do much on offense during the stretch between timeouts, knocking down one more three. The Warriors were beginning to heat up on both ends, forcing Alvin Gentry into another timeout with just over four minutes left and the Warriors lead sitting at seven points. Stephen Curry came out of the timeout and hit an incredible off-balance jumper, but the Pelicans were able to answer back with a quick five points, three of which came on an Ian Clark corner three, forcing Steve Kerr to call his first timeout and the Warriors lead sitting at four points. Quinn Cook then got a layup to fall off of a nice pass from David West to open the scoring after the timeout. Neither team finished the quarter shooting particularly well, but Quinn Cook was able to get an and-1 layup to fall and extend the Warrior lead to six points at the end of the quarter. Klay Thompson was the leading scorer for the Warriors with 14 points on 6/9 shooting, and Jrue Holiday was leading the way for the Pelicans with eight points on 3/5 shooting. As a team, the Warriors finished the quarter shooting 44.8% from the floor and 20% from three, while the Pelicans shot 41.7% from the field and 66.7% from three. The real difference between these two teams in the first quarter was defense, as the Warriors forced the Pelicans to commit four turnovers while the Warriors only committed one. The Warriors led the Pelicans 32-26 after the first quarter.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the second quarter, but Jrue Holiday was the first player to score, and he did on a nice layup, which Klay Thompson followed up by connecting on an and-1 jumper from just inside the arc. Klay Thompson was still red hot, and hit another impressive jumper. The Pelicans were struggling to score, and it was just a matter of time before Steve Kerr got the Hamptons 5 all back in the game to extend the lead for the Warriors. Stephen Curry put a nice move on Ian Clark and followed the move up with an incredible left-handed finish, and the offense just looked as fluid as it has ever been. A timeout was called with just under seven minutes left in the quarter, and the Warriors lead sitting at nine points. Following the timeout, the Warriors had a bit of an offensive flurry, but not as big of a burst as they are capable of. Stephen Curry took and made his first three of the game, and Kevin Durant threw down a monster jam. The Warriors then got sloppy and allowed for their 10-point lead to be cut to just three after a dunk from Anthony Davis, an easy layup, and a deep three from Nikola Mirotic. The Pelicans quick run forced Steve Kerr to call a timeout to try to stop the bleeding, with the Warriors lead sitting at three points with just over 3:30 left in the game. The Pelicans came out of the timeout and took the lead for the first time all game off of four quick points from Rondo and Anthony Davis. The Warriors then came back and nailed a couple shots, including a catch-and-shoot three from Kevin Durant to help the Warriors re-establish their lead. Durant caught fire in the second quarter, and went 5-5 from the floor. He had 16 points in the first half, which was the second-most on the team, only to Klay Thompson’s 19. Stephen Curry added 13 points of his own on 6/9 shooting. The Pelicans were led by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, who had 18 and 14 points, respectively. As a team, the Warriors finished the half shooting 49% from the floor and just 28.6% from three, whereas the Pelicans were shooting 48.9% from the floor and an incredible 52.9% from three. The Pelicans made five more threes than the Warriors, and still did not lead, which is a testament to how many ways the Warriors can score. The turnovers did even out, as the Pelicans finished the half with 10 to the Warriors’ 7. At halftime, the Warriors led the Pelicans 59-56.
Klay Thompson kicked off the third quarter with a catch-and-shoot mid range jumper. Durant then followed that up with a perfect mid range jumper after shaking Jrue Holiday, and then Stephen Curry went coast-to-coast with a layup to force Alvin Gentry to call a timeout, just 69 seconds into the quarter. The Pelicans were held scoreless before that time out thanks to some very solid defense from every Warrior. After the timeout, the Warriors forced a turnover that led to Stephen Curry feeding Kevin Durant on a fastbreak for a nice layup, which forced another timeout from the Pelicans. After that timeout, the Pelicans scored their first points, but the Warriors countered that with a dunk from Draymond Green and a wide-open three from Stephen Curry, extending the lead to 16 point, and forcing Gentry into calling his third timeout in the first four minutes of the half. After that timeout, Stephen Curry wanted to have his turn stepping on the Pelicans throat, as he hit a three from the other side of the Bay Bridge before getting fouled on another three and nailing all three free throws. Another timeout was called by Alvin gentry, his fourth of the quarter, after the free throws, and after nearly six minutes, the Warriors were on a 25-4 run and had a 24-point lead. The rest of the quarter was just basically garbage time, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were subbed out around the six-minute mark, and guys like Quinn Cook and Jordan Bell got some nice run to finish the quarter. Jordan Bell threw down an incredible lob from Draymond Green, who hit a three to end the quarter for the Warriors. Though their 24-point lead did not last, the Warriors did end the quarter with a 20-point lead. Stephen Curry exploded for 13 points in the third quarter to finish with 26 points, just ahead of Kevin Durant (24 points) and Klay Thompson (23 points). The Pelicans were led by Anthony Davis, who had 26 points. As a team, the Warriors shot 51.3% from the field and 30.4% from three through three quarters, whereas the Pelicans shot 42.6% from the field and 40.9% from three. After the third, the Warriors led the Pelicans 95-75.
The fourth quarter was an interesting one to say the least. The Warriors went into the quarter with a 20-point lead, but the Pelicans fought to the end whereas the Warriors stopped playing defense. The Pelicans went on a big run to cut the lead to single-digits, but then Draymond Green nailed a turnaround jumper off of an inbounds pass, and Kevon Looney tipped in a bucket on the next possession to seal the win for the Warriors. While the Pelicans did manage to get things close-ish towards the end of the quarter, it was still mostly garbage time, and the Warriors weren’t playing any defense while throwing up some ill-advised shots. Stephen Curry did finish as the Warriors leading scorer with 28 points on 10/16 shooting, and 15 of those points came in the second half. Anthony Davis finished with 34 points, 19 rebounds, and four blocks. Davis’ teammate, Jrue Holiday, came alive in the fourth quarter to help ignite the Pelicans run, and he finished the game with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Warriors finished the game shooting 48% overall and 25.9% from three, while the Pelicans finished shooting 46.6% from the floor and 41.7% from three. The Warriors beat the Pelicans 113-104, and won the series in five games.
Another series, another gentleman’s sweep for the Warriors. The Golden State Warriors played much better overall in this series than they did against the Spurs, and that was largely due to the natural pace of the Pelicans’ offense, which allowed the Warriors to do what they do best: run and score in transition. While the Pelicans did have a magical first-round sweep against the Trail Blazers, they simply did not have the talent or offensive firepower to be able to run with the Warriors.
In this deciding game five, several key players stepped up and had incredible games. Stephen Curry had 28 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Kevin Durant had 24 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Klay Thompson finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Draymond Green had one of the best all-around games of his career, finishing with 19 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and two blocks.
The Warriors won their 15th straight home playoff game, which ties the record set by Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
With this win, the Warriors punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals to face the Houston Rockets in a matchup that the entire league has been waiting for since October.
Game One of the Western Conference Finals is on Monday, May 14, at 6 p.m. in Houston on TNT.