I have to assume if you’re reading this recap, dear reader, you’ll understand Golden State was always going to win this game by a bunch, and they did just that, dominating the Pelicans at Oracle, 123-101. New Orleans, without Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup, were a Warrior’s feast.
Golden State is one of those teams that score relentlessly while you struggle to manage coherent movement leading to an open shot. Offensive numbers in the Warriors’ way include: 51% shooting for the game, made 15-of-16 free throws, scored 39 points in the third quarter, had 24 assists, 8 turnovers, 6 offensive rebounds and too many Javale McGee dunks. Fans attend this type of game knowing they’re gonna see a show and that’s precisely what they got in the second half.
The first half was an unexpected sort of slugfest, where the Warriors failed to go streaking for any significant period of length. No Stephen Curry probably hurt to an extent, but order was established after halftime when an 8-point difference in the score expanded quickly and the Pelicans were staring at a 93-68 deficit after a Klay Thompson third quarter-buzzer beating three-pointer.
Speaking of righting ships, Kevin Durant made his return to action. In his first game since a knee injury sustained on February 28 at Washington, he had a ho-hum 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in no more than a jog. If you’re a Warriors fan, it was definitely a good thing to see him out there doing his thing without any hindrance of movement or sign of discomfort.
Again, not expecting a win, the Pels were led, at least in part, by Alexis Ajinca who scored 17 points in the starting lineup. Quinn Cook led Nola in scoring overall with 22 efficient points, while Solomon Hill provided the lowlight: two points in a 26-minute start with no made field goals. Jordan Crawford, aka Instant Grits, had 21 points, showing coherent decision making and shotmaking, per usual since his pick-up and Chieck Diallo had seven points and nine rebounds. The rookie seems totally fine out there, and it’s easy to see why many fans have called for more playing time over either Ajinca or Donatas Motiejunas.
Golden State’s Inspiring Offense
We shouldn’t take this GSW offense as an NBA “given” — it’s too great and too stylish to ignore. Golden State goes where you’re not looking. After all, as a defender, you rarely get to stare your opponent in the chest, most especially in the paint and on the superhighways of the wing. Where you can’t see, you’ll miss Golden State roamers occupy open parts of the floor. Since everyone on their team can pass — maybe this generation’s “all 3s/layup/FTAs offense” most underrated accompaniment — space is anywhere. Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala may go down as one of the best bench pairings in NBA history if they stay together (maybe the Pels can steal Liv?) for this reason. Even the signing of Zaza was great because of this ability. Davis West can dish ‘em, too, as we well know.
The Warriors complete passes when guys make seemingly lackadaisical cuts... the passes are on raw, difficult angles and done quietly so as not to draw the attention of the most relevant defender.
NBA passing... I love this game.
A Look at Quinn Cook
The newly-signed Pelican and former Dookie, Cook was probably the Pelicans best player. Cook led the team in scoring and made 10 of 13 shots, including 2 of 3 three-pointers. His first run of playing time (spanning the end of the 1st and early 2nd quarter) resulted in basically a 0 +/- against some very good players, with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant both in the game for much of that time. He made a few shots but generally was where he needed to be. I didn’t see this iso-drive game as written in this Ridiculous Upside piece, but was still very smart for a young guy with extremely limited NBA playing time. He was nearly Brogdonian! His time in the third quarter proved fruitless, though, as he failed to get up a shot in his time.
Cook’s fourth quarter included a great back-to-back pair of plays in a long 3-pointer followed by a very contested, swooping layup. After that 3, Joel Meyers said “Quinn Cook”...[3-pointer goes in]...“good look.” True. I’m on the Cook bandwagon!
Javale’s a Dunk Machine
Just search “javale” on Twitter tonight.
The End is Near
New Orleans has just two games left this season, a Lakers-Portland back-to-back on April 11 and 12. We’re almost there!