If the New Orleans Pelicans couldn’t beat the Golden State Warriors this time, it’s not going to happen. Stephen Curry scored an impossible 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and eventually a 123-119 win to give the Dubs a 3-0 lead in a series that seems over, despite the fight being put up by their rivals.
The Pelicans held a 89-69 lead going into the fourth quarter, but managed to lose it step by step, as the offense entered protect mode instead of the same aggressiveness and speed of moving the ball like previously. The Warriors slowly ate away at that lead and down by five points (107-102) with 17 seconds to go, turned to Stephen Curry.
First came a 3-pointer to cut the lead down to two points. Anthony Davis on the other end went to the line, but made just 1-of-2. The Warriors went to Curry who missed a 3-pointer, but the Warriors grabbed the offensive rebound. Marreese Speights quickly dished it to Curry in the corner, who was fouled on his way out of bounds, still somehow making the shot, sending the game to overtime.
Tyreke Evans managed to come close with his desperation three, but the game went into overtime, where Curry got off to a quick start with another 3-pointer and closing it out with four shots from the line. With the Warriors leading by two points (121-119) and only 10 seconds to play, Davis attacked the rim but couldn’t get past Andrew Bogut, throwing away the last chance to make this series close and interesting. Enthusiasm, faith, belief, motivation; it got all sucked out of the building when Davis missed that shot, or maybe even before, when Curry made that “impossible” three.
Curry was in Russell Westbrook mode. What does that mean? He did score 40 points, but he shot just 10-of-29 from the field (7-of-18 from beyond the arc). He added 9 assists. Klay Thompson scored 28 points with six 3-pointers of his own. Draymond Green, as always, with 12 points, 17 rebounds and 5 assists, including 7 on the offensive glass, did a lot of the work that allowed Curry and Thompson to be so successful.
Anthony Davis had a big night with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Ryan Anderson was almost in ‘can’t miss’ mode with 26 off the bench, 10-of-14 from the field. Tyreke Evans looked better on his game back with 19 points. But the defense wasn’t there when it was needed, as Quincy Pondexter lost Curry a few too many times. The Pelicans haven’t found a way to get around those screens, although most of the league hasn’t when facing the Warriors.
It’s all but finished. The games were more difficult than the 3-0 lead in the series suggests, but even when you compare it between just the two stars of each team, the Warriors always have that extra something to pull through. It helps when you have a player who doesn’t need more than a split second of room and time to hit even the most difficult of shots, and everyone else is working to make it possible for him. That’s a winning formula, probably even a championship formula.