The Golden State Warriors continue their quest for the NBA finals yet again as they visit the Smoothie King Center in search of a commanding 3-0 series lead. The game starts at 7:00 central. The Warriors, who hold a 2-0 lead, dispatched the San Antonio Spurs 4 games to 1 in the past round. New Orleans, however, swept the Portland Trailblazers. Golden State is favored in this game at -4.5.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans looked unbeatable against Portland. However, that dominance ended the minute they took the court against Steph Curry and the Warriors. However, New Orleans is still getting production from players like Anthony Davis, who is averaging a monster 30 points these playoffs. Davis is also pulling down 12 rebounds each game. Another big performer for New Orleans has, unsurprisingly, been Jrue Holiday. Holiday has been putting up just over 24 points per game these playoffs, while dishing out 6.3 assists. This amount of assists from a scoring guard has been big for New Orleans. However, to beat the Warriors, it will also be essential to maintain these numbers by facilitating Anthony Davis.
Most basketball fans know that Davis and Holiday are going to be consistent contributors, regardless of who the team is playing. I believe that the X factor for New Orleans will be is Nikola Mirotic. The addition from Chicago will need to be hitting from the outside to take some of the pressure off of Davis on the inside. Mirotic is also big enough to play in the paint, and his versatility will be needed.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have been doing basically everything right this postseason. After coming into the playoffs huge underdogs (in terms of winning it all), second round projections show that their chances are now just below those of the favored Houston Rockets.
The usual suspects have had huge performance after huge performance ever since the playoffs began. Stephen Curry has put up 28 points per game, while shooting a ridiculous 50% from deep. He has even been pulling down 7 rebounds each contest. Kevin Durant has also been lighting it up with 28 points each game. Klay Thompson has also continued his impressive shooting. Thompson hasn’t missed a free throw since the playoffs began (Neither has Curry), and has been shooting 46.5% from the field.
Draymond Green and JaVale McGee will be big factors in this game. Seeing the stats that Anthony Davis has been putting up, Steve Kerr has to know that the Warriors have to have an answer in the paint to avoid a 30+ point game for Davis.
Pelicans Outwork Warriors
The popular opinion is that Golden State can just outshoot their opponents. However, New Orleans can match up at every position defensively. Rajon Rondo proved while he was with the Bulls that he can stop a dynamic small guard (when he shut down Isaiah Thomas). Jrue Holiday can match up a larger shooting guard, while Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis can both guard forwards. This game won’t be decided by the high profile players, and I see New Orleans prevailing in that type of game. Take New Orleans at +4.5.
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