In what will likely be their last game before Steph Curry’s return, the Warriors didn’t leave much room for improvement. Instead, they fired on all cylinders as Draymond Green and Kevin Durant led a 123-101 thrashing of the Pelicans to take Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals.
The game stayed close in the first quarter, which ended with Golden State up only 35-34, but what some thought would be a shootout into the triple-digits turned into a show of force. The Warriors took control with a second quarter where they outscored New Orleans 41-21 and just kept rolling, much like they did in the first round against the Spurs.
Durant and Klay Thompson led the scoring for Golden State’s onslaught, combining for 53 points. Green ran the show and posted a triple-double of 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Really, the only starter who didn’t get in on the action was new addition Nick Young, who finished with six points on just four shots.
The Warriors are now 26-0 in games in which Draymond Green records a triple-double, including 4-0 in the postseason.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) April 29, 2018
In the unsung heroes department, Kevon Looney scored only 3 points, but finished +34 thanks to some effective defense against Anthony Davis. That effort was much needed as the Warriors decided to stay small often even without Curry back in the lineup.
Widespread foul trouble helped kill any reasonable chance of a New Orleans comeback. Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore both entered halftime with three fouls and each picked up a fourth early in the third quarter. Reserve Ian Clark was even worse with four fouls by halftime. The Pelicans weren’t thrilled with the officiating.
Judging from the score, eye test, stat sheet and whatever else you’d use to gauge the outcome, Warriors coach Steve Kerr likely didn’t regret deciding to hold out Curry for a few extra days of rest. The Warriors did what they wanted and now Curry’s return just hovers as yet another dagger the Warriors might throw at the Pelicans in the days leading up to Game 2, as if the ones from Game 1 weren’t enough.