The New Orleans Pelicans have a chance to tie their second-round series at home on Sunday, but they’ll need all the help they can get. New Orleans’ 119-100 victory over the Warriors was promising, considering the team was written off by many to be swept, yet don’t be quick to expect Golden State to fold two outings in a row.
Draymond Green summed up the Warriors mindset going into Game 4 simply: “We’ve got three of the greatest scorers in the world,” said Green. “When we need to bounce back, they get buckets. Look forward to that on Sunday.”
Game 3 was an anomaly in many ways. The Warriors had a total of 22 assists, meanwhile Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo racked up 21 on his own. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant shot a combined 7-of-24 from deep, and the Warriors shot 38 percent from the field as a unit. Don’t expect any of that to repeat despite the likelihood of more continued excellence from the New Orleans defense.
Something you can expect to continue: Anthony Davis bullying anyone in his path. In his five career playoff games at home, Davis has averages of 34.6 points and 13 rebounds. This isn’t of human-like capabilities considering that every opponent, especially in the playoffs, over-sells to double team Davis. Plus, it feels like we’re still due for that Davis 40+ point explosion in this series. Rajon Rondo, who tallied 21 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 3, seems to think so.
“Before he went home today from shootaround, I told him to ‘take a nap and think about 50,’” said Rondo to postgame media following the Pelicans win Friday.
The key for New Orleans to avoid Davis getting trapped was simple: get other guys involved. When they double, find the open guy quickly and in rhythm. That strategy paid off handsomely and proved to lead to a breakout game, in terms of confidence, for the Pelicans as a whole.
“When guys make shots, it’s hard to double team,” said Davis. “That kind of just opened up the floor for me a little bit and I was able to attack.“
New Orleans’ supporting cast undoubtedly stepped up to the call on Friday night. They outscored Golden State’s second-unit by a 32-20 margin. Solomon Hill unexpectedly hit his first three shots from deep and Ian Clark provided 18 points in 21 minutes against his former team.
“It’s big for us to much up with them in that way,” said Holiday. “We know that their bench is going to come off, score and try to be aggressive. I do think being able to go back at them is key. Defensively I think we’re always aggressive, but to be able to have that confidence to go back at them on the offensive end and put some pressure on them was big for us.”
A multitude of things will have to fall in place together for New Orleans to be able to tie this series in Game 4. Anthony Davis is building a legacy, the Warriors are close to solidifying a dynasty and Rajon Rondo is standing by to stir up the pot - and only Rondo, per Draymond Green.
What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
Where: Smoothie King Center
When: May 6, 2018, 2:30 pm Central
How: ABC, 99.5 FM WRNO