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Pelicans at Warriors, 97-87: Golden State closes out New Orleans late

The Pelicans played at a high level for 44 minutes. Then their relative inexperience reared its ugly head.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans came out in the first quarter absolutely on fire. Eric Gordon made three quick threes as the Pels raced out to an early lead. Even the shots they missed were high quality looks; open threes, Anthony Davis pull ups, and shots at the rim. Blown opportunities kept the lead smaller than it could have been.

Anthony Davis missed a possible highlight dunk which immediately led to a wide open Stephen Curry three in transition. Another fast break was bumbled between Davis and Pondexter, also turning into another three from Chef Curry. Unforced errors were plentiful as the Warriors sent a number of passes into no-man's land and even the stands. Still a 14-2 run to end the quarter put the Pelicans up 28-17 after the first.

The second quarter was a different story. Norris Cole again carried the bench unit, scoring nine straight points. Unfortunately, the defense was atrocious and Leandro Barbosa repeatedly sliced through it for layups. When it wasn't Barbosa it was Marreese Speights like a metronome from mid range. Ryan Anderson was set up for a few wide open three point attempts; none of them were particularly close. The lead slowly dwindled until Curry put the Warriors up with a three at the end of the half.

Second Half

Would the Pels lay down as the Oracle came to life? Not in the third quarter. Gordon was again huge, knocking down open threes to keep New Orleans within arms reach. Tyreke Evans, battling on a bruised knee, just kept attacking the rim and finally starting knocking down his freebies. Combined with the normally excellent Warrior offense producing just three points in the final five minutes, the Pelicans went into the fourth quarter facing a tie game.

It could not have started much worse in the fourth. High quality shots again could not find the net. Costly turnovers. The Oracle began to rock. Yet Anthony Davis would not go quietly into that good night. He got to the line six times, Gordon knocked down another three, and with four minutes remaining it was a two point game. Then the wheels came off.

Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis both tried to get foul calls that were not coming. Not in the playoffs on the opponent's floor. Klay Thompson scored 12 of the next 14 points for the Warriors down the stretch. For New Orleans, turnovers, managed well almost all game, piled up. Gordon and Evans both left their feet without a destination for the pass. Norris Cole slipped on the way to a possible layup attempt resulting in a travel.

After playing the Warriors tough for 44 minutes the inexperience of the Pelicans came to the fore. Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Anthony Davis are all still playing in their first ever playoff series. It showed.