Warriors shoot for 2-0 lead over Pelicans
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors will try to take a 2-0 series lead over the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night when Game 2 jumps at Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry netted 19 of his 34 points in the first half and Golden State held off New Orleans 106-99 in Saturday's Game 1 of this Western Conference quarterfinal.
The Pelicans were game and dented the Warriors' big lead several times. But, Golden State held on for the victory, based on the strength of its MVP candidate and his All-Star backcourt mate.
A 14-0 Pelicans run that bled into the early stages of the fourth quarter trimmed a 25-point deficit to 11. Curry and Klay Thompson, however, hit consecutive 3-pointers to begin a 7-0 swing and temporarily put the game out of reach again.
A 7-0 New Orleans spurt later in the frame cut the gap to 93-83 with under four minutes left, but the Warriors kept the Pelicans at bay down the stretch.
New Orleans was within four in the final minute but never got over the hump.
"Obviously the first three were a lot better than the fourth," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It was good for us to feel that ... We missed a lot of free throws that made it closer than it needed to be."
The Warriors went 7-of-14 from the foul line in the final two-plus minutes to keep the Pelicans in it.
Draymond Green posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, Andrew Bogut tallied 12 points, 14 boards and five assists and Thompson scored 21 for Golden State, which won an NBA-best 67 games and went 39-2 at home during the regular season.
Anthony Davis had a fantastic playoff debut, pouring in 20 of his 35 points in the fourth for the Pelicans, who played in their first postseason game since 2011.
They beat out the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final playoff spot after beating the defending-champion San Antonio Spurs on the NBA's last day of the regular season Wednesday.
"We gave up so many easy baskets that it got their crowd into it. They got a lot of juice," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "But we did figure out some things tonight. We've got to be a lot better figuring out some small, small screens and our pick-and-roll defense tonight was poor, especially in the first half."
Following Golden State's mini sprint, a pair of Davis baskets preceded an Eric Gordon 3 to conclude New Orleans' 7-0 swing minutes later and claw the visitors within 93-83 with 3:26 to play.
A pair of Davis free throws trimmed the margin to 103-99, but by then it was too late with 9.7 ticks on the clock. Curry went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, but Harrison Barnes secured the rebound on the second miss and hit two foul shots to seal the outcome.
Quincy Pondexter scored 20 for the Pelicans, followed by 16 from Gordon.
Game 3 will be Thursday night in New Orleans.