If it’s just going to be Anthony Davis matching the level of his opponents, the New Orleans Pelicans can pack things up because they were no match for the Golden State Warriors in game 1 of the first round series, unable to stop Stephen Curry or anyone else for that matter in a 106-99 loss.
It wasn’t that close. The Pelicans did come back in the final 3 minutes to make things look a bit more respectable, but overall it felt like two teams from a different class. The Warriors led by as much as 25 in the third quarter, led by Curry with 34 points (13-of-25 from the field) and if it wasn’t for their poor shooting from the line, it wouldn’t have gotten interesting in the end.
Davis scored 35 points in his playoff debut, but the Pelicans looked helpless defensively at times, especially when it came to stopping Curry, but also got nothing from Omer Asik (2 points) and Tyreke Evans (1 points), who injured his left knee and left in the first half. His status is unclear, and an injury to him might be almost a deathblow regarding the series for the Pelicans.
Besides Curry, Klay Thompson scored 21 points while Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut (especially in the first half) provided a fantastic performance on both ends of the floor. Green scored 15 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, adding 7 assists to go with two blocks and three steals. Bogut scored 12 points (all in the first half) grabbing 14 boards to go with five assists, two blocks and two steals.
We saw that the Warriors don’t plan on using a lot of their bench when things are going well. Shaun Livingston played 13 minutes, Leandro Barbosa had 11. Andre Iguodala was the only one with significant playing time, scoring 8 points in 31 minutes, and the Warriors did look worse when it wasn’t their original lineup on the floor.
We’re going to see some small ball from them, at least until David Lee is healthy enough to play. Draymond Green can play all three frontcourt positions which makes things a lot easier. He can’t completely slow down Anthony Davis; no one can, but if letting him score means Evans, Eric Gordon (16 points on 5-of-14 from the field) or Jrue Holiday don’t get hot all of a sudden, it’s worth letting him pad up his numbers.
The Pelicans didn’t stand much of a chance to begin with, but if Evans is really out of the picture, the combination of Norris Cole and a still slightly injured Holiday isn’t going to be too troubling, at least it seems that way. The Warriors need more than just six players later in the playoffs, but right now, with this kind of form, they can get the job done with just six.