Published: November 26, 2013
After a beat down at the hands of the Spurs last night, the Pelicans try to crawl back to .500 with a win over the Golden State Warriors at home. The good news is that the Warriors will be shorthanded, missing 4 rotation players (including two starters) in Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O’Neal, and Toney Douglas. The bad news is that they are the top three-point shooting team in the league – both in makes and percentage – and that alone should strike fear in the hearts of Pelicans fans.
Getting back to the good news, all of the elite lineups for the Warriors this year, include Bogut and/or Iguodala. Their most effective lineup has been their starting group, which outscores teams by 15 points per 48 minutes. A small ball lineup that see Draymond Green at the 4 and David Lee at the 5 has also been effective, but again that is with Iguodala on the court. I expect to see that lineup quite a bit tonight (Curry-Thompson-Barnes-Green-Lee), but the defense should suffer with Barnes in the place of Iggy, as should the offense as Iggy was often a creator in that lineup.
The Warriors have an efficient offense, but surprisingly they have not just forgone the mid-range shot. Instead, they just make it at a relatively high percentage (43%) while also draining 44.4% of their three’s. Overall, they hit over 62% of their pull-up jumpers, which is just unheard of, including 60.2% on pull-up three-pointers. What that means is that the Pelicans need to get up on shooters the second that they cross half court. They also need to communicate on all picks and screens.
But more than anything, they need to exploit the gaping hole in the middle for the Warriors. The combination of David Lee, Marreese Speights, and Dewayne Demon will be forced to play those 48 minutes and none of those guys should be able to prevent the Pelicans from getting to the rim at will, especially when you factor in that the Warriors will be missing their only real plus perimeter defender. In a game where stops might be rare, the Pelicans should be able to get more of them.