The Golden State Warriors got off to a hot start in the playoffs as they held off a red-hot New Orleans Pelicans team for a Game 1 victory.
Warriors point guard and MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry led the way for his team with 34 points, four rebounds and five assists while shooting 13-for-25 from the field.
The rest of the Warriors starting lineup contributed plenty as well while shooting guard Klay Thompson added 21 points, and power forward Draymond Green added 15 points with 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Center Andrew Bogut led the Warriors in boards with 14 as he scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and small forward Harrison Barnes contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.
The bench was mostly quiet for the Warriors as they only scored 12 of the Warriors’ points, but that didn’t matter as Curry continued to look like an MVP.
Meanwhile, Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis also looked like an MVP candidate as he dazzled in his playoff debut with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting and seven rebounds.
Davis carried the Pelicans on his back in the fourth quarter, where he scored 20 of his points as the Pelicans attempted to make a comeback after being down 25 points.
Shooting guard Quincy Pondexter also had a solid performance as he added 20 points with nine rebounds while dishing out a team-high six assists.
Despite Davis’ incredible performance, the Pelicans fell behind quickly in Game 1 before they were able to trim the Warriors’ lead to single digits but ultimately fell short.
Davis will likely be forced to carry a big load for the Pelicans again in Game 2 as guards Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are questionable to play.
However, they have point guard Norris Cole ready to contribute more minutes if needed, and he provides playoff experience after winning two championships with the Miami Heat.
Evans is nursing a bone bruise in his knee, and he only played 12 minutes in Game 1 while scoring only one point.
Holiday is still rusty after returning from a 41-game absence that was caused by a stress reaction in his leg.
Green will continue to be the key cog on defense for the Warriors, and he will look to limit Davis’ production.
Although Davis scored 35 points in Game 1, the Warriors were able to hold him off for the most part in the first three quarters as he scored 15 points with only one rebound.
Although the Pelicans pose a threat with Davis, the Warriors still have a well-rounded starting lineup to go with their MVP-caliber point guard and All-Star shooting guard.
They have been nearly impossible to beat at home this season, as they finished the regular season with a 39-2 home record before winning their playoff opener.
Due to their status as an elite team and having home-court advantage, it’s difficult to imagine the Pelicans tying the series.
Expect the Warriors to take a big lead over the Pelicans early on once again, and they will make a point to keep neutralizing Davis as much as possible. The Warriors will take a 2-0 series lead as they pull off a more convincing win.
Prediction: Warriors 108, Pelicans 96