Stephen Curry scored 34 points and added seven assists and seven rebounds, and Klay Thompson had 29 points, as the Warriors defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 128-122 in overtime. The Warriors were without starting center Andrew Bogut, while New Orleans was without forward Anthony Davis. In Davis' absence, Tyreke Evans finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Jrue Holiday finished with 30 points, nine assists, and five steals. The Pelicans are now 11-12, while the Warriors sit at a league best 21-2, highlighted by their current 16-game winning streak.
The first half was fun. Both teams were looking to run, creating some electric basketball. Without Anthony Davis, the Pelicans fought to stay in the game, and both teams combined for 111 points in the first half. Jrue Holiday had a solid 1st quarter, scoring the basketball well and running the offense. Tyreke Evans continued his good play from the Cleveland game by forcing the action in attacking the rim and moving the ball well, highlighted by a great pass to create an easy dunk for Omer Asik.
On the other end, the wings of Golden State carried the offense. Stephen Curry finished the quarter with 13 points, including three open threes. Klay Thompson did a good job in his own right, finishing with six points on 3-4 shooting. Andre Igoudala had two baskets and gave Golden State the lead late in the quarter. Finally, Shaun Livingston got into the action, serving as a defender and agitator on the wing to disrupt New Orleans’ offense, but also as just a mismatch, getting two free throws to end the quarter.
To start the second quarter, both teams started with their second units, giving all of their starters rest for first half of the quarter. As a result, the game went into a bit of a slog, but more for New Orleans than Golden State. The Warriors at least had Leanardo Barbosa, who used his speed to get some shots at the basket. Without a creator on the floor for the Pelicans, the offense really relied on Ryan Anderson creating, yet Draymond Green wasn’t having any of it, especially when Anderson attempted to attack the basket. Austin Rivers had a couple of poor jumpers, while Jimmer Fredette made a nifty lay-up.
When the starters return, Golden State started their attack. The combination of Thompson and Curry hit a couple threes, turning a four point lead by New Orleans into a three-point deficit. Andre Iguodala had a furious dunk on Luke Babbitt, and even with Holiday and Evans back on the floor, the Pelicans struggled to close the quarter out offensively, allowing Golden State to take a nine-point lead into halftime.
The second half saw New Orleans do their best to stay in the game. Golden State had a couple moments early in the third where they turned on the offense, pushing their lead to as high as 10 points. New Orleans couldn’t defend Thompson and Curry, always leaving at least one 40% three-point shooter open. However, New Orleans did a great job answering back, led by the backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.
I have my quibbles about the tandem for various reasons, but tonight was a positive. Holiday did a good job slowing down the tempo, getting the team into sets, and spacing the floor. Meanwhile, Evans just barreled his way to the basket, as well as having served as an additional rebounder with Omer Asik on the bench. The Pelicans went on a 11-0 run for 5:40 in the third, getting the home crowd energized and going from down eight to up one.
Another reason for New Orleans’ third quarter run? The play of backup center Jeff Withey. I’ve always been a fan of his game and this is why. Withey did a good job of just boxing out on the glass, clearing up rebounds for Evans, Cunningham, and Holiday. Offensively, Withey isn’t a technician by any means, but getting to run the pick and roll, attempting some hook shots, and getting some free throw attempts, he was all-around fine for New Orleans in the third.
The fourth quarter had both teams going back and forth among their stars. New Orleans was carried by Tyreke Evans. His 10 points and three assists of the quarter helped the Pelicans keep pace with Golden State. Along with Evans, Dante Cunningham also did a great job of serving as another scoring option by hitting all three of his shot attempts, and grabbing four rebounds.
Golden State had a team effort. Klay Thompson went 2-9 in the quarter. Stephen Curry had two turnovers, including one late in the game down one with a minute left. Hat tip to Andre Iguodala, who had just five points in the quarter, but the combination of him and Thomspon effectively removed Jrue Holiday out of the quarter. Holiday played the entire quarter, and while he had five assists, had just two points on 1-4 shooting.
Both teams went into overtime tied at 111.
In overtime, the lack of depth for New Orleans shined, and ultimately, contributed to their downfall. The Warriors shot 62.5% from the floor, while the Pelicans went 25% from the floor. Tyreke Evans fouled out in the quarter so Jrue Holiday took over and scored 8 of the team’s 11 points. The Warriors, led by Stephen Curry’s eight points in OT, defeated the Pelicans 128-122.
— Jrue Holiday was great for most of the game: 30 points, nine assists, and five steals. For me, it’s been a good run for Holiday, as this game showed everything we want from Holiday. He spaced the floor, he ran the offense, he picked up the pace, and had a couple big defensive plays. The biggest being Holiday deflecting a pass and throwing it off of Curry to get New Orleans the ball back.
— The Pelicans would’ve lost by double-digits without Tyreke Evans. Evans finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. The five turnovers damper the performance a bit, but this was peak Evans to me. Tyreke was a man possessed, attacking the rim and moving the ball when nothing is there. His rebounds were most fun. In the third quarter, he and Withey were just at the rim waiting for the ball. Withey would just box out anyone in distance, allowing Evans to get the rebound for the outback. Good on ya, Reke.
— Speaking of Jeff Withey, he needs to move into that fourth big man spot. Like tomorrow. Withey did everything you need from a backup center: ran the floor, blocked shots, and looked effective in the pick and roll. He finished with 10 points and four rebounds in 15 minutes. I don’t see why he wouldn’t look good next to Davis, Anderson, or Cunningham. The Pelicans need minutes from their reserves, and hopefully Withey earned a rotation spot tonight with his performance.
— Dante Cunningham, Withey, and Austin Rivers combined for 29 points. Good enough.
— The Warriors are amazing. This is a loss, but it’s an impressive one without Davis. The Warriors have to be one of my favorite teams to watch: Curry and Thompson shooting the ball, Livingston and Iguodala serving as, really, defensive replacements, and Draymond Green. If the playoffs ended yesterday, the Pelicans would’ve played Golden State in a first round series. These two teams played a fun game so just imagine when Bogut and Davis play in the next matchup.