Besides Anthony Davis matching Stephen Curry in scoring, there’s nothing right now the New Orleans Pelicans seem to be doing well enough in order to match up with the Golden State Warriors, heading into game 2 of the playoff series down 1-0.
Davis scored 35 points, 20 of them in the final quarter, but the Pelicans aren’t going to win or even come close to putting a dent in the Warriors’ title challenge if it’s only Davis playing at this level. However, playing closer to the rim and not letting Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut push him around and force him to take jump shots will make everything a lot easier for his team.
That may prove difficult if Tyreke Evans doesn’t play. He has a knee bruise that runs deep, almost to the bone, and might keep him out of game 2. Even if he does play, being injured isn’t going to help the Pelicans out too much. Maybe it’s better to keep him out of the game anyway, although that means more minutes for Norris Cole and Jrue Holiday, who isn’t 100% himself and should be on minute restriction.
The Warriors haven’t been the best team in the regular season for feeling satisfied with their performances, in this case a 106-99 win that included losing a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Warriors suggested that they focused too much on stopping the Pelicans from coming back through 3-pointers which also made things easier for Davis after a rough start.
Stephen Curry, playing in his third postseason and possibly winning the MVP very soon, looked very much the part of someone who feels very comfortable with a 34 point performance, helping his team play wonderful basketball for the first three quarters, opening the 84-59 lead before the Pelicans went on a closing 40-22 run in the fourth quarter.
But while Curry did look unstoppable at times when he had the ball, the work of Draymond Green on both ends of the floor was just as important. Green ended up scoring 15 points to go with 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Andrew Bogut started hot offensively but was great on the other end all game long, finishing with 12 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists.
So what can the Pelicans do to flip the script in game 2? Davis has to be great all game long, all series long, but besides him, the Pelicans need to get going from the outside early on. Be it Eric Gordon, Quincy Pondexter or someone else, without being able to stretch the floor a little bit which means giving Davis some space near the rim, keeping up with the Warriors ridiculous scoring is going to be very difficult.