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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans look to post first win versus vulnerable and injured Golden State Warriors

Steph and Dray must feel like they stumbled into an alternate reality.

NBA: Playoffs-New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors (0-2) find themselves in unfamiliar territory to start this season and the New Orleans Pelicans (0-3) hope to take full advantage.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Geaux Pels!

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