Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson end an arduous five game road trip tomorrow night in the Smoothie King Center. A week on the road has thus far resulted in three wins and a shocking blowout lost at the hands of a injury ravaged Memphis Grizzlies team. Can the New Orleans Pelicans, far healthier than the Grizzlies, hand the Golden State Warriors their second loss before they head back to Oakland?
Both games so far between these two teams were close, especially considering the absence of Jrue Holiday. Anthony Davis was tremendous in route to scoring 78 points and collecting 30 rebounds in the previous two match-ups. Averaging 39 points and 15 rebounds a game against anyone in the NBA is impressive. Against one of the very best teams in the league even more.
Since these teams met the Warriors have hit a different, even more impressive, gear. They are 16-2 in that span with an incredible +15.1 net rating while ranking second in offensive efficiency and fourth in defensive efficiency. That does not mean they are without weaknesses, including a few the Pelicans may be able to exploit.
Three Things to Watch
Crash the offensive glass: The Pelicans are posting a paltry 17.9% offensive rebounding rate this season, good for last in the league. However, in their two competitive games against the Warriors they collected 25.3% of their own misses. New Orleans is slowly crashing the glass more with their offensive rebounding rate climbing month over month to begin the young season. Golden State is last in the league in defensive rebounding rate and starting center Zaza Pachulia is doubtful according to the most recent injury report.
Convert behind the arc: New Orleans shot 27.9% (12/43) from deep in two games against the Warriors and were still very competitive. While it is unlikely they repeat the performance we saw against Phoenix something closer to not terrible will really help things along. Buddy Hield is shooting 44% from 3-point land in his last six games. Maybe the rookie can chip in.
Get AD going: Anthony Davis has been struggling this month to say the least. 38% from the field over the span of five games. Expect both teams to go small, especially if Pachulia is unable to go. Davis will likely have Draymond Green on him much of the time. AD can shoot over Green at will, let’s hope he finds the bottom of the net early to get back on track.
What: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
When: Tuesday December 12th at 7:00 PM
How: Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM