Pelicans Lose to Warriors, Down 0-2 in Series


One NBA fact remains, beating the Golden State Warriors at home is nearly impossible. Tonight win makes it 20 straight wins at home for the Dubs, and the haven’t lost to a western conference team since late November vs. the Spurs. The Warriors take advantage of their immeasurably loud “Roracle” area which as Monty Williams stated:

"“I’m not so sure the decibel level is legal, and I’m serious,” Williams said. “They’ve done studies on that. For the competition committee, there’s got to be something to that. It does get a little out of hand.”"

While Monty Williams might have a legitimate argument, but calling out the Warriors for being to loud only encouraged them to be even louder, and make their home court advantage abundantly clear tonight.

The building was shaking, every time Steph Curry rose for a shot the entire sphere would enter a state of suspended amazement, and anytime he hit they would erupt with insane amounts kinetic energy.

April 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30, right) dribbles the basketball against New Orleans Pelicans guard Norris Cole (30, left) during the fourth quarter in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 97-87. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A loss is a loss even if the Warriors had a territorial advantage, but there is a lot of good to take away from this game.

The story of this homestead for the Pelicans and been the discussion on which big man should be paired with Anthony Davis in the front court. Omer Asik brings defense and rebounding, but the Warriors score more from the perimeter and he hurts the Pelicans spacing.

Ryan Anderson brings spacing, but he is a defensive liability and can kill the Pelicans offensive momentum. Alexis Ajinca is solid on both ends, but doesn’t provide any clear advantages and can be easily neutralized on the block.

The first quarter was when the Pelicans looked their best.

Anthony Davis was hot from the start, and his offensive burst in the fourth quarter of game one clearly influenced him to force more on that end.

Many Pelicans writers, critics and fans have suggested that Omer Asik should come off the bench for the Pelicans, but his defense was invaluable in the early stages of this game.

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On the other hand Asik was taken out by Head Coach Monty Willliams early in the first, and though the defense suffered, Ryan Anderson worked wonders for the Pelicans spacing.

The argument against Anderson is that Davis can no longer match up and take advantage of 6’7″ Draymond Green.

Interestingly enough of Davis’ first eight field goals he was 0-4 when being defended by Green, and 4-4 when being defended by anyone else on the Warriors roster. It’s possible that Davis is actually more effective when outrunning Andrew Bogut, then he is trying to use his height against Draymond Green.

April 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23, right) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23, left) during the first quarter in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the first quarter the Pelicans lead the Warriors 28-17, were shooting 13% better form the field, and were vehemently attacking the basket while the Warriors seemed content to force contested outside shots.

The second quarter was when the Warriors changed their game plan. The one clear advantage they had was on the fast break, where they outscored the Pelicans 13-2 in the first quarter.

They capitalized on this momentum and were able to combat the Pelicans half court advantage by utilizing their pick and roll against the slow-footed Omer Asik.

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Eric Gordon was one bright spot for the Pelicans, he started the game 3-3 form deep, and would end the game with 23 points on 5-10 shooting from behind the arc. Davis played well, but forced a lot of offense in the 4th quarter that resulted in a few embarrassing misses.

With less than 10 seconds in the 2nd quarter Steph Curry hit a three and gave the Warriors the lead for the first time since five minutes into the first quarter. Golden State led 55-52 at halftime had shot 76% from the field in response to their initial drought.

The one advantage the Pelicans had at this time was on the glass.

They out rebounded the Warriors 23-16 largest due to Omer Asik’s effort to box out and force secondary offense opportunities. Asik would end the game with 13 rebounds, leading the Pelicans with Davis in a close second. His post defense was there as well, but he struggled keeping up with the Warriors legendary offensive pace.

With just two minutes left in the 3rd the Pelicans scored their a field goal to end a 5 minute offensive drought. The 3rd quarter was a game of runs, and the Pelicans were able to match the Warriors momentum. Both teams were tied 71-71 heading into the final minutes of regulation.

In the 4th the Pelicans fell apart. From minutes 2-5 the Pelicans again couldn’t score a field goal, and would have been absolutely left in the dust if not for their defensive determination. Gordon hit a wild step back three in Steph Curry’s face to bring the Pelicans some momentum, and force the Warriors to call a timeout.

April 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) is fouled by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11, center) while Pelicans center Omer Asik (3) sets a screen during the second quarter in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

From this point on the Pelicans failed to control the pace of the game, and were clearly out executed by the Warriors. The Warriors promptly built a 10 point lead and the final buzzer sounded in the  loudest arena on earth.

This ended the Warriors two game homestead. The Pelicans will now return to their hometown for two of their own, and will hopefully take advantage of their home crowd the same way the Warriors have.

That the Pelicans should even be close in these first two games is an accomplishment, and hopefully they will be able to get Jrue Holiday back, harness some momentum of their own, and make a definitive decision about which big man is best equipped to control this series.

Stay close to Big Easy Believer for Pelicans playoff coverage and news as this Series reaches its peak…..

Next: Why Monty Williams is a Key Part of the Pelicans Future