The Western Conference semifinal switches venues from out west to the Big Easy.
New Orleans hasn't been almost as impressive as they were in the first round when they swept the No.3 seed Portland Trail Blazers.
Golden State leads the series 2-1. The reason? Poor parameter defending by Golden State leading to six Pelican's 3s (including three from Solomon Hill), and disjointed offensive play reminiscent of the end of the regular season (9/25 FG, 1/7 from 3, 4 turnovers).
"That was a special moment when Steph checked into the game", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. Can the Warriors put their foot on the throats of the Pelicans with a win here? They had a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and it disintegrated right before their eyes with one flick of the wrist by the greatest shooter the basketball world has seen. This game was a closer contest than the blowout in Game 1, ending with a score of 121-116.
Golden State shot just 9-for-31 from beyond the arc and 38 percent from the field overall. Generally, the Warriors come out and dominate the 3rd quarter. Kevin Durant has also been lighting it up with 28 points each game. Marcus Smart finished with 19 points and five rebounds as the Celtics improved to 6-0 at TD Garden this postseason.
In this Game 3, New Orleans led by 25 in the third quarter after Davis' free throws made it 90-65. That's what happened in Game 2.
The over is 4-1 in the last four meetings in New Orleans. Can Alvin Gentry get the Pelicans back on track and pick up a victory in order to make it a 2-1 series or will they be staring at elimination?
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The only back-to-back victor of the much-coveted MVP honor did more than that though coming up with an outstanding performance as if he never left, helping the defending champions to a 121-116 victory as the best-of-seven series moves to New Orleans Friday, PH time. Golden State made good use of their 27 trips to the free throw line, converting on 22 of them (81.5 percent).
Anthony Davis scored 33 points with 18 rebounds and four steals and Pels point guard Rajon Rondo dished out 21 assists to keep New Orleans' offense clicking. Shooting guard Jrue Holiday contributed 24 points, eight boards, eight assists, one steal and one block.
Draymond Green notched a near triple-double on 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in 36 minutes. It grazed the rim and plopped into the hands of reserve forward Marreese Speights, who took a dribble and handed it back to Curry, who relocated to the corner. This series alone, New Orleans has upped their pace of play by three possessions.
"I wanted to do whatever was necessary for the team", Clark said.
Curry is back in the mix but one has to wonder if Kerr will watch his minutes to make sure he's back into game form.
The Warriors, meanwhile, played like it was a throwaway game in January.
Green and Rondo both dismissed their brush-ups as frivolous, but Green was serious in reiterating that he wants accuracy from the media in telling how these incidents have come to be.