Game On: Pelicans Take On Warriors

Published: March 20, 2015

The New Orleans Pelicans’ fell a game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder after their 74-72 loss against the Phoenix Suns. The score, which is eerily reminiscent of games played in the 90s or Memphis, is not the most encouraging as the Pelicans head to Oakland to play the best offense in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have an Offensive efficiency of 109.2. They also lead the league in assists per game, have the best record in the NBA (and just beat the Atlanta Hawks, the second place team in the league, convincingly.) The Warriors also lead the league in True Shooting Percentage and pace.

The Pelicans will play the Warriors twice in the final month of the season. In the prior two matchups, the Warriors scored nearly at will, blowing out the Pelicans 112-85 in Oakland on December 4th, and then edging out the Pelicans ten days later in overtime 128-122. With or without Anthony Davis (who is questionable at the time of this writing) the Pelicans need to have better results in order to win these games and stay in the playoff race.

Here are the keys to the game:

Rebounding- One thing the Pelicans are better than the Warriors at is rebounding. The Pelicans’ rank fifth in rebounding rate, while the Warriors ran 17th. In order for the Pelicans to win, they will need to limit the Warriors second chances point opportunities, and make the most out of their own possessions. When playing an elite team, you have to implement your will and game in order to advance. One thing the Pelicans can count on, is rebounding.

Pace- These two teams are polar opposite when it comes to pace. While a case could be made that the Pels should play faster when healthy, the Pelicans are down at least two, if not three, key players today, and playing the fastest and deepest team in the league. Slowing the game down and shortening the court is pivotal for the Pelicans to stay in the game.

Win the Turnover Battle- This will almost always be a key for the Pelicans. In the December 4th massacre, the Pelicans had 17 turnovers and gave up 26 points to the Warriors nine turnovers and eight points.  In the overtime game, the Pelicans forced the Warriors into 20 turnovers, and got 23 points off of them. Turnovers will be key. Tom Haberstroh wrote on ESPN how Steph Curry had more pull-up threes than any other team has this year. If it becomes that kind of game, the Pelicans will be looking to Sunday’s game hoping to win at least one game on this road trip.

Lastly- Drill safely guys. We are injured enough.


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