Following a lopsided 120-92 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Warriors and Pelicans both enter Monday’s nights matchup in the Smoothie King Center looking to get off the schneid.
The departure of Kevin Durant and several injured rotation pieces, including star shooting guard Klay Thompson, has the Warriors looking nothing like the team who have taken home three NBA championships this decade. Sloppy play, subpar defense, and an overall lack of chemistry have plagued their play. It appears they’re another team that needs time to get on the right track — even with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and D’Angelo Russell all available to play big minutes.
When the infrastructure after Curry/Draymond/Russell is a combination of draft picks/inexperience/journeymen and a big touch of injuries, you get the results like we are seeing in GSW. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 27, 2019
Although the Pelicans fell to the Houston Rockets on Saturday, they once again had a chance to leave with a victory, but they faltered in crunch time. New Orleans will look to continue solidifying their rotation though, juggling a deep and talented roster along with cleaning up defensive communication and their effectiveness on the boards.
Now that we’ve gotten that out the way here are a couple points of emphasis as we head into game number four.
1. Get up on Golden State early
This isn’t the Warriors of old that could flip a switch and go on a magnificent scoring run. But even this team should eventually find some semblance of stability when they figure things out. In order for the Pelicans to halt that from happening on Monday, it will be essential to get off to a great start. In both of the Warriors games to start the season, they’ve faced early double digit deficits, and ironically by the third quarter, the final result had already been decided. Gone are the third quarter dominating sequences from Golden State; in its place has been frustration and a team looking for answers.
The Warriors have led for 0 seconds this season. They're down 25 in the middle of the second quarter in OKC: 54-29. Offense larger problem than the troubling defense today. GSW 8/34 shooting, 3/17 from 3, 9 turnovers.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 27, 2019
Kerr, when asked if he was looking forward to the Warriors having another chance to turn things around tomorrow night in New Orleans: “I’m looking forward to the Modelo that’s waiting in my locker.”— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 27, 2019
Steph just talked to Kerr for a couple seconds on the bench. He's got to be done for the day. Warriors bench looks shell-shocked. Kerr looks as frustrated as I've seen him in a long time.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 27, 2019
Draymond tells it like it is after the Warriors' second straight blowout loss. pic.twitter.com/NHi98EVlOY— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 27, 2019
This doesn’t read of a team close to being in any sync right now, and the young and high paced Pelicans don’t appear to be the type of matchup to give any sort of relief in that area. As close losses have piled up, NOLA has remained undeterred, fighting until the sound of the final buzzer. If they can come out energetic and hungry again they should have the advantage over a Warriors team on the second night of a back-to-back. If Steve Kerr is still in search of that Modelo by Monday night, he’ll for sure have landed in the right city.
2. Box out, be better on the boards.
The Pelicans have narrowly lost the rebounding battle in all three of their games this season. New Orleans has several players who are solid rebounders, but with Derrick Favors currently not playing a healthy dose of minutes to go along with Nicolo Melli and Jahlil Okafor, the responsibility so far has fallen on the guards and forwards. Everyone has to remain alert and possess the necessary gang-rebounding mentality as consistent boxing out versus rebound watching would pay immediate dividends.
As they prepare for a team looking for confidence, the last thing they want to do is give the Warriors second and third opportunities on offense. Lonzo Ball mentioned taking care of business on the glass as something New Orleans needs to improve upon.
Lonzo Ball on #Pelicans three straight tight losses: “I think we’re getting better every game. (Now) it’s about closing them out. We put ourselves in position to win every game. It comes down to the little things: rebounding, loose balls, turnovers, fouling (too much).”— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) October 27, 2019
Now it’s time to put it to the test.
You haven’t been able to say this in a while, but this version of the Warriors is a beatable team. Regardless if Jrue Holiday suits up or not — he’s questionable to play, NOLA should be expected to win. You never want to count our Golden State and our long-time nemesis Steph, but if there’s ever been a time to get them, it’s now.
Where To Watch/Listen
What: New Orleans Pelicans (0-3) vs Golden State Warriors (0-2)
Where: Smoothie King Center
When: Monday, October 28, 2019. 7:00 PM CDT
How: NBA TV, FSNO