Despite losing a close game Saturday, here are three reasons the New Orleans Pelicans can come back to win the series against the Golden State Warriors.
Saturday’s game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors put some of the NBA’s best young talent on display.
It also featured a battle of MVP candidates with Stephen Curry taking on Anthony Davis. Both superstars made big plays to lead their team and made strong cases for their candidacies for the award.
While the Warriors built a big lead, the Pelicans showed no quit and fought back to give the Warriors a fight to the very end. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 35 points and looked like a seasoned playoff vet on the court instead of looking like it was his first playoff game.
Although the Warriors took game one, the second half of the game and the comeback by New Orleans showed the blueprint for stopping the offensive powerhouse that is Golden State.
With New Orleans in the hole down 0-1 in the series, here are three ways that can come back and win the series against Golden State:
1. The Pelicans need to use their size defensively
The Pelicans have two seven-footers in Omar Asik and Alexis Ajinca. They of course also have Anthony Davis and his tremendous wingspan which allows him to be one of the best if not the best shot-blocker in the NBA.
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Simply put, if the Pelicans are going to chop down the Warriors incredible offensive game and win this series, they need to shut down the lane and not allow the Warriors to get any penetration that will allow open looks for threes.
The Warriors are going to make their three pointers regardless because they can shoot from almost anywhere on the court, but that doesn’t mean New Orleans can’t take measures to prevent the amount of big shots they take. Allowing Asik and Davis to clog up the paint will make it hard on Golden State to find the splash bros for an open shot.
Asik’s performance wasn’t good Saturday and he had a +/- of -22, but Ajinca was solid in his limited minutes with a +3. If those two along with Davis can command a presence in the paint, they will have a shot to limit the offensive attack of the Warriors.
2. Must Match the Warriors intensity from the beginning
The first quarter Saturday, ultimately did the Pelicans in. They were outscored 28-13 and didn’t look ready for the playoffs. When it comes to the postseason and playing a No. 1 seed, if you fall behind early, it’s going to be a big hole to dig out of.
For quarters 2-4, New Orleans outscored Golden State 86-78, and held the Warriors to just 47 points in the second half. As the game wore on, New Orleans found the defensive edge they needed by slowing down the Warriors offense and it made Golden State noticeably uncomfortable on the court.
Golden State is going to come out firing every game and in every quarter. If New Orleans can match the intensity of Golden State from the start and show they can keep up, then they will have a chance to win games and perhaps the series.
3. Continue to feed Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis had an impressive 40 minutes of game time as he recorded 35 points on 13-23 shooting. If New Orleans is going to win games, they need to keep feeding the big man and let him do his thing. The NBA Playoffs is where stars show up and make names for themselves.
Letting Davis take over and continue to dominate with his agility, ball handling and interior presence will allow everything else to open up for the Warriors. If Davis is doing work inside, that will allow guys like Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Quincy Pondexter to be open for the big shot.
Much like the stars of the 80’s and 90’s would just take over and go for 40 or 50 points a night, Davis needs to do the same thing, take the lead and have everyone follow. He’s a special talent and if he puts the ball on the floor, he’s going to score and get to the line.
Simply put, the Pelicans need to be the aggressor.
Can Pelicans Upset Warriors?
The Warriors may have taken game one, but the Pelicans showed heart and didn’t give in. If they’re going to win this series, they need to be aggressive and take the fight to the Warriors from the very beginning and not fall behind early. Anthony Davis needs to use this series as a platform to elevate himself even higher.
If they can do that, they will have a shot to win this series.
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