The Golden State Warriors season came to a shocking start as they began 0-2, looking bad against the Los Angeles Clippers and even worse against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That all changed with a much-needed first win of the season, 134-123 over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Both teams entered this game winless, hungry for the first W of their young season.
The Pelicans came to the Smoothie King Arena at far from full strength. Rookie Zion Williamson is still sidelined for the near future, while fellow starters Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors also missed Monday night’s matchup.
At halftime, the Warriors led 70-57 behind a balanced scoring attack. Steph Curry led the charge with 17 points and 6 assists on 5-8 FG. He was supplemented by Draymond Green (already flirting with a triple-double: 6 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists), and double-digit scoring by Jordan Poole, D’Angelo Russell, and Damion Lee.
Brandon Ingram shouldered the offensive load for New Orleans, taking nearly twice as many shots as any other player. He finished the half with a less than efficient 12 points on 5-14 FG. Josh Hart actually lead the team in scoring with 13 points on a leaner 4-7 FG (with three three-pointers made.)
Golden State wasn’t exactly emulating the team that went to five straight championships, but they looked a lot more like themselves than the first two games of the season. The open threes were falling. Players were making the extra pass and getting everyone involved. Green had his fingerprints all over the game, and Curry led the offense while not allowing it to become one-dimensional.
It’s all a winning formula for Golden State that I think could still lead them to the 5th seed in the West, even after their two alarming losses to start the season.
The game’s outcome would never be in jeopardy in the second half. The Warriors extended their lead, outscoring the Pelicans 31-24 in the third quarter. They allowed the Pelicans to put up 44 points in a garbage time fourth quarter.
Green finished with his first triple-double of the season: 16 points, 10 assists, and 17 rebounds. When Draymond is making this type of impact, the Warriors are a much scarier team. Curry poured in a team-high 26 points to go along with 11 assists. Russell flirted with a triple-double of his own, tallying 24 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds.
For the Pelicans, the offense continued to flow through Ingram, who had a game-high 27 points on 10-23 FG. He added 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. The absences of Holiday and Favors, and of course, Zion Williamson, were definitely felt.
The Pelicans move to 0-4 while the Warriors improve to 1-2 with their first win of the season.
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