In an effort that came up five points short, the New Orleans Pelicans possibly gave their best punch on Tuesday night at the Oracle.
Game 2 witnessed 13 lead changes, 11 ties and 90 combined minutes from Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, but it wasn’t enough to take down Ivan Drago in front of an angry mob that seemed relentless during each of the Warriors’ scoring spurts.
Stephen Curry was the sweetheart of the night, drilling his first three-point attempt seconds after entering the game off the bench to finish with 28 points in just 27 minutes, but Kevin Durant (29 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) and Draymond Green (20 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists) came up big as well for Golden State.
For the Pelicans, the tale was one of frustration. New Orleans improved upon every bit of their performance from the opener. They rebounded, dominated the paint, showed aggressiveness throughout, and never backed down to their bullying big brother, responding to every run with one of their own.
Rajon Rondo returned to peak Playoff Rondo form with a whopping five steals to go with his 22 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds and one sweaty assist to Draymond. A made three pointer gave the Pelicans a great deal of hope with 7:48 remaining in a contest that often seemed just out of reach.
But the frustration stemmed from some place darker than Chef Curry’s splashes and Kevin Durant’s long armed defense. The frustration came from watching an all time giant defeat the Pelicans, not only with efficiency and playmaking, but with backdoor tactics.
Wrestling moves and leg sweeps were just a bit of the masterful gamesmanship the Warriors employed to quiet the upstart Pelicans in Game 2. While the free throw disparity at 27-9 remains the looming sub plot, the performance and antics of Draymond Green are the true story of the series. Nearly two triple doubles to go along with suffocating defense, Green has offered the engine that makes this Golden State franchise go. His emotion and passion have bewildered and tormented the Pelicans, all the while igniting the Warriors, their bench, and their crowd — drunk off the notion of a third championship in four seasons.
Will the Pelicans fall short, not only in talent but in experience, to match the games being played on the floor and in the mind?
One thing is for sure, Game 3 is their last shot. You can’t go down three games to none to the World Champions, you just can’t.
Join David Grubb, Andy Liu, Will Guillory and Oleh as we break down the Warriors’ performance in Game 2, but ponder in depth how the Pelicans can take back control of the series in the upcoming two-game home stand starting Friday.
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