The best team in the NBA takes on the future of the NBA as Stephen Curry’s Warriors take on Pelicans F Anthony Davis.
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In the second game of the start of the NBA Playoff Quarter-Finals, the New Orleans Pelicans begin their series against the NBA’s winningest team, the Golden State Warriors. Under first-year head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors recorded an astounding 67-15 record – the most in franchise history – and first division title since 1976. The Pelicans under head coach Monty Williams made it in at the 8th and final playoff spot thanks to a pair of wins in the final weeks of the season over the Minnesota Timerwolves and defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.
Golden State Point Guard Stephen Curry is one of the leading candidates for NBA MVP as he led the league with a career high 286 3-point shots and 646 3-point attempts along with a league-leading .914 free throw% and 163 steals. Curry’s 23.8 points per game fell just short of his 24.0 point per game last season, but he greatly increased his 2-point shot percentage, recording a career-high .528 percentage from inside the paint – up from his previous high of .514 back in 2011. Shooting Guard Klay Thompson has also been a key contributor thanks to his 21.7 points per game and has augmented a dominating offense that has made the Warriors one of the most overpowering scoring teams in the NBA. The Warriors have the advantage of their overpowering offense as well as the home crowd – which played a major factor in both of their wins over the Pelicans this season.
The Pelicans rely on the sensational play of All-Star Anthony Davis, one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA today, who closed out the season with three straight games of over 20 points and a pair of double-doubles. But the Pelicans have struggled against the Warriors all season, going 1-3 in their four matches against them and giving up at least 100 points in each meeting – and at least 112 in their three losses. Nonetheless, Davis has the ability to completely take over a game with his domination at the rim. He led the NBA with 641 two-point shots and 200 blocks while averaging 24.4 points per game.
Much like the beginning of an NCAA Tournament, this game has the feeling of a #1 seed going up against a #16 seed. But unlike the Tourney, the Pelicans have a player in Davis with the potential to take over a game on his best days. If he can play like he did against the Warriors earlier in April when he put up 29 points while Omer Asik gets the rebounds. But it’s a tall order against a team that is now completely healthy and eager to make a lot of noise early in the game.
Prediction for Game #1: Golden State Warriors – It’s hard to imagine the Warriors coming into the playoffs and playing cold – especially at home – after coming off 25 games with at least 100 points scored. Though Anthony Davis may be one of the best players in the NBA, he can’t take on the overpowering offense that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson bring to the table, nor can the supporting staff beat a rebound-crazy F like Draymond Green when he is playing his best game.