The Golden State Warriors are in New Orleans Sunday for game four of their second-round matchup with the Pelicans. The Warriors are -6-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 231 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 PM PST from the Smoothie King Center in the Big Easy.
The New Orleans Pelicans made a statement in game three of their best of seven series with the Golden State Warriors by blowing them out by nineteen points. After themselves getting blown out in game one and then falling down two games to none after game two, it looked like this might be yet another sweep for the defending champs. Not so fast! New Orleans played its best basketball of the postseason yet and dominated game three to get back into this series.
Anthony Davis came up huge with thirty-three points and eighteen rebounds and Jrue Holiday poured in twenty-one of his own for the Pelicans. But the real star of game three was Rajon Rondo. Rondo has been the x-factor for the Pelicans all season long and was at his best in game three. Rondo was in complete control of the offense all game long and dished out twenty-one assists.
Rondo did struggle a bit shooting from the floor as he was just 2-11 shooting and scored only four points, but what he did running the show more than made up for his lack of scoring. Rondo also added in ten rebounds to go with his assists and did a great job guarding Steph Curry at the point. Curry managed to score just nineteen points in game three and shutting him down again today will be a huge key to victory for New Orleans.
The Warriors had a rare off night shooting. This is the best shooting team in NBA history, yet they shot an abysmal 38% from the field and an even worse, 29% from the land of three. If Golden State shoots this poorly in game four, this series is going to be all tied up heading back to Oakland for game five. The big three of sharpshooters for Golden State, Durant, Curry, and Thompson shot a combined 7-24 from deep. Was that the great perimeter defense of New Orleans or just a bad night for Golden State? We will find out today in game four.
I’m not sure if game three was a fluke or the start of a trend of where this series is headed. Game one was a blowout, game two was very competitive, and while the Pelicans came up sort of what would have been a huge road upset, they did play well, and the game was a tight one. We all saw what happened in game three. So, it appears the trend of the series has been moving towards it being a competitive one. Will the Pelicans be able to continue with that momentum and tie this series up today?
Well, the answer is maybe. There is little chance that the Warriors will shoot anywhere near as poorly as they did in game three. They are just too good to shoot that poorly for too long. But, that being said, they lost by nineteen points so they could have shot the ball considerably better in game three and still lost. I expect that Golden State will play much better in game three knowing that they now have a series on their hands.
But I just can’t bring myself to lay that many points on the road in the playoffs. New Orleans isn’t some fluky team that doesn’t deserve to be here, they are a legit contender with a superstar leader in Davis and a point guard that knows how to win in the playoffs in Rondo. For them to not cover this spread, they would basically need to get blown out on their home floor in a must-win game. I just don’t see that happening today.
Could Golden State shoot the lights out and win this game by twenty points? Probably. Regardless of what happened in game three I still think the Warriors are the much better team and expect them to figure out a way to win this series. But for today’s’ game, I expect another close affair. If I were really pressed for an outright winner, I would lean towards Golden State. I think that game three was a wake-up call for them and expect a much better effort today.
But I don’t need to take a stand on the outright winner because I can take the home team Pelicans and a handful of points and just hope for a close game. And that is just what I will do. Give me the New Orleans Pelicans at home getting six points!