Kevin Barrios: Pelicans in 6
Uuuuuuuugggghhhhhh. I remember when this would have seemed like an easy answer — I’m glad it isn’t any longer.
While I don’t think the same exact defensive approach to the Portland series can be utilized in this series — especially if Stephen Curry plays a lot of minutes — I do expect the same effort and energy on that end. In fact, I think the Pelicans ride this confidence and chemistry and take Game 1 in the Oracle. After that, their fate depends on how sustainable Nikola Mirotic’s offense is and how reliable our non big three are when they get the open shot.
My head says Golden State takes us out in six, but my heart says don’t count this team out. I followed my head last series — now I’m going with my heart.
Chris Connor: Warriors in 6
This is difficult not knowing the true status of Steph’s health coming into Game 1. If he’s not himself or misses a couple of games, I think NOLA could pull off the upset. But with Curry expected back to 100 percent soon, the Warriors will gain back depth and the straw that stirs their drink.
The Golden State Warriors simply present too many perimeter threats for New Orleans in my opinion. It’s possible Alvin Gentry and Darren Erman can pull off another defensive masterpiece, but the Warriors are not the Blazers. I also expect AD, Jrue, Rondo, and Niko to continue their masterful play. In the end, though, the Warriors will prevail.
Jamile Dunn: Pelicans in 6
This is a tricky one. Without Chef Curry, the Warriors are still the favorite but by no means a lock. If Curry suffers a setback or is significantly limited during the series, the Pelicans have more than a punchers chance to pull off the upset.
This series will test New Orleans to the max and the Pelicans will need even bigger contributions from their role players; however, ultimately, stars win playoff games. We know Anthony Davis will show up and devour whomever is in front on him, but the series may ultimately come down to Jrue Holiday putting in another superstar playoff performance. In addition, beardless Niko Mirotic and “Playoff Rondo” will also need to continue their strong play.
I think this might be a long series. If it goes six games, I’m taking the Pelicans to close out the series on their home floor, but if it goes seven it may be too much to tall a task to eliminate the champs on their home floor. My general rule is that the defending champion is the favorite until they are eliminated, yet I think the Pelicans have a legitimate shot at dethroning these Warriors. Anthony Davis was eliminated in unceremonious fashion in his first playoff match up with the Warriors. The Brow has been aggrieved, and he will have his vengeance in this life or next!
Preston Ellis: Pelicans in 6
The Warriors have struggled all season by their standards, winning 58 games after averaging 68.5 in the previous three years. Head Coach Steve Kerr has often confessed how tiring this four season run has been, and Chris Bosh recently confessed as to how it wore on the Heat from 2011-14 once on a Bill Simmons’ podcast.
The Warriors are tired and about to face a team peaking at just the right time. While the Warriors managed to go 7-10 in the final three weeks of the regular season, with wins against PHX (three times), Atl, SAC, LAL, and OKC, the Pelicans have won nine straight games against some desperate western conference playoff contenders.
Golden State’s injury woes have been a story all season long: Curry (31 games), Iggy (18), KD (14), Green (12), Klay (11), Livingston (11). Plus, Steph’s latest injury could hurt as well as he’s likely to either miss Game 1 or potentially not be in midseason form after his Grade Two MCL sprain.
We assume the Warriors have a “switch” they can flip. They have possibly the best collection of talent of any team ever, reaching the Finals three years in a row and winning 73 games just two seasons ago, and yet, based on the data, the momentum, how can one argue against the Pelicans?
Iggy and Draymond are putting up the worst three-point shooting numbers in their careers. The Pelicans can defend them, just as they did Evan Turner and Al Farouq Aminu on the perimeter in the Portland series.
Jrue Holiday is playing like one of the three best combo guards in the NBA, Rajon Rondo is engaged in a way we haven’t seen since 2012, Nikola Mirotic is hot at just the right time, and Anthony Davis is possibly the best player in this series.
The key will be turnovers. If the Pelicans can follow the blueprint from April 7th (8-17), this series could be more interesting than people think. Blogboy out!
Oleh Kosel: Warriors in 7
Although there’s a part of me that feels New Orleans can win this upcoming series, I don’t like the odds. The Rondo-Holiday-Moore-Mirotic-Davis starting lineup can hold their own against anybody, the team is as confident as they’ve been all season and being able to score a bunch of points is the key to beating the Warriors, but too many other questionable elements would have to go really right.
For starters, it’s difficult to trust the Pelicans bench unit. While Ian Clark has been relatively sharp for months, Darius Miller and Solomon Hill have not. Plus, I highly doubt the coaching staff can trust Cheick Diallo — let alone anyone behind him to play well against this fleet of foot, highly productive on both ends of the floor Warriors team.
Then, among other things, when you add the fact the Warriors are prone to unleashing those torrid scoring outbursts — they instantly lead to the vaporizing of opponents inside Oracle, Draymond Green’s help defense will have a similar impact to Davis’ and Golden State’s ability to shoot the three-point ball much more proficiently will pose a significant benefit, a lot of the Pelicans advantages become null and void.
That said, I have a lot of faith this will be an ultra-competitive series. New Orleans has been playing incredibly well of late and offer plenty of star firepower, while Golden State can’t be expected to click on all cylinders throughout after just getting Curry back and limping into the postseason.
Ultimately, I just hope that New Orleans remembers to proudly reflect back on the 2017-18 season in a few months time.
Brett David Roberts: Warriors in 5 or 6
It hurts to write this, but the Golden State Warriors will likely come out focused and win the series in short order. This is the defending champs, after all, and while the Pelicans are hot, it is going to require everyone playing “above” their capacities to even stay in this series — from Anthony Davis to the bottom of the rotation. Golden State is that deep and talented with Steph so it will require near perfection just to win a game or two.
Travis Tate: Warriors in 6
This means we win twice — take it as a positive! AD and Jrue are scorchers right now and I think their success in the Portland series will transfer over to the Warriors series. There’s obvious matchup problems, but I like our chance in guard play and with Davis at center. Might see a lot of Solomon Hill this series!