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Pelicans must expect for Warriors to show the heart of a champion

Golden State arrives out of sync, but they’ve still got Steph, Klay and Draymond

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images

There will be no respite in coming home from a three-game road trip out West that produced a disappointing 1-2 record because the New Orleans Pelicans schedule isn’t set to get any easier.

The Golden State Warriors are in town tonight, with another trio of games away from the Smoothie King to immediately follow.

Admittedly, the Warriors are not playing good basketball. They’ve compiled a 3-6 record, are on a four-game losing streak and have yet to win a game outside of San Francisco.

They also fell 130-129 to the Orlando Magic last night.

It feels like a perfect time to battle the current NBA champions. They’re not clicking and they’ll be on the second night of a back-to-back. But remember, many thought the Lakers were going to be an easy pushover a few days ago.

Look for Draymond Green to inspire these Warriors to fight, hard. For Stephen Curry to shoot them out of their slump. Getting off the schneid is going to be on all their minds, especially with Golden State closing in on a historical record they would prefer not to break.

Asides from a defense that ranks 5th-worst in the Association, a lot of problems for the Warriors stem from their bench. But head coach Steve Kerr promised changes to the rotation after the loss in Orlando.

“We’ve had nine games now, so we’ve had a decent look at combinations. It’s time to try something different. Everybody’s going to get a chance to play. We’ve got guys who are dying to get on the floor, and we’ve got to find combinations that play. We will look at that as a staff.”

Their group of reserves consist of a lot of young, unproven players, as Damian Lee, Otto Porter, Gary Payton II, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Nemanja Bjelica are now elsewhere. So it’s unclear how Kerr will be able to make dramatic obvious changes.

Regardless, the Pelicans must get back to their identity of dominating the lane, bringing greater energy over the full 48 minutes and simply dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

In rewatching the second quarter of the defeat in Los Angeles, New Orleans did so few things right. They should have built a huge lead as the Lakers were flailing. But Jaxson Hayes made multiple defensive errors, but so too did Naji Marshall, Trey Murphy and Zion Williamson.

Offensively, the team was throwing possessions away. Literally. Several ill-advised bounce passes were easily intercepted in the paint, but there were plenty of other mind-numbing turnovers: a moving screen, a travel and a 3-second violation.

That’s an ugly collection of not so greatest hits; however, peering through a glass half full lens, the Pelicans have already shown the ability to bounce back.

Failing to match Utah’s intensity in the first half was followed by a spirited effort throughout against Dallas. Not firing on all cylinders in Phoenix, the Clippers took the brunt of New Orleans’ frustration.

With the Pels gift wrapping a win to the Lakers, another turnaround seems in store, but the better news is that the starting lineup might be whole again.

The latest injury report lists Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol) and Herb Jones (right knee hyperextension) as probable for Friday’s matchup. If Willie Green only gets the services of one of them, it’ll be a boon to his rotations.

The Warriors, I’m sure, will attempt to show everyone that they still possess the heart of a champion. The Pelicans need to be ready to take Golden State’s best shot when the ball gets tipped.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (4-3) vs Golden State Warriors (3-6)

When: November 4, 2022, 7:30 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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