Apr 7, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) and Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) scramble for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Warriors 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
1. Take Care of the Basketball
Across all sports and all levels of play limiting mistakes is a surefire way to increase your chances of winning, especially against good competition.
New Orleans must be careful with the ball if they want to have any chance against Golden State. In the regular season the Pels ranked 10th in turnovers per 100 possessions (14.1), a solid number. However, the Warriors force the 6th most mistakes (16.2)
Asking for zero turnovers is just plain irrational, mistakes are bound to happen. But the Pels cannot let a snowball of mistakes build up and give the Warriors momentum.
In their win against the Spurs, they coughed the ball up four times in the first four minutes of action. This did not hurt that much since they shot almost 70% in the first quarter, but the Warriors will be sure to take advantage of those opportunities. The Pelicans have given up a hefty amount of 4-0,6-0 and 8-0 runs this season because of a chain of turnovers.
Keeping the turnover differential tight will be almost solely in the hands of the Pelicans offense. The defense only forces 13 turnovers per 100 possessions, the third lowest in the league. Golden State does turn the ball over at an average rate (14.4 times per 100), but the conservative defensive scheme of the Pelicans results in few takeaways.
It is imperative that New Orleans does not give the already potent Golden State offense more opportunities to put points on the board.