After the New Orleans Pelicans easily dispatched the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers in four games, some thought they could put up a fight against the Golden State Warriors. This was not the case, as the Dubs won comfortably in five games.
Let’s recap the series.
Golden State Warriors Defeat New Orleans Pelicans in Five Games
Stephen Curry Is Back
After being out with a knee injury since March, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry returned to the court for Game 2. In his four playoff games so far, Curry averaged 24.5 points on 47.8 percent shooting overall and 44.1 percent from downtown on 8.5 attempts per game.
He also chipped in 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists, albeit with 3.8 turnovers a night as he tries to shake off the rust.
The return of Curry meant the return of the Warriors’ highly-potent offense. With the two-time MVP on the court in these playoffs, the Warriors’ net rating jumps from 7.4 to 14.9. this includes increases across the board, both offensively and defensively.
Plus, Curry does exciting stuff like this on a regular basis:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2018
Hamptons Five / Death Lineup
After the Pelicans stifled Golden State and won Game 3 comfortably, Warriors coach Steve Kerr decided to break the glass. In Game 4, the Dubs started Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, also known as the Hamptons Five.
This lineup has played 54 minutes total in the playoffs and is far and away the best five-man group. With the No. 2 offensive rating (127.5) and No. 1 defensive rating (86.6) among lineups that have played at least 50 minutes, their net rating of 40.9 leads the NBA by 14(!!!) points.
Durant was spectacular in the series, averaging 27.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting 50.2 percent overall and 32.1 percent from three. His overall numbers have been great, but he is still missing an inordinate number of wide open threes. If that normalizes against Houston, look out.
Green has also been incredible in these playoffs, culminating with averages of 14.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10.0 assists against the Pelicans. He made history, becoming the first Warrior ever to average a triple-double in a playoff series.
His 48 percent overall shooting and 40 percent from three both represent huge improvements from his regular season numbers.
Anthony Davis Not Enough
The Pelicans’ one hope of winning the series was for MVP candidate Anthony Davis to turn into the incredible hulk for four games. Despite the series loss, he was great. The Brow averaged 27.8 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.2 steals, and 2.0 blocks.
With that astounding across-the-board production, he scored the ball pretty efficiently as well with a 47.8 percent overall shooting mark.
His Pelicans teammates could not do enough to put them over the hump.
Guard Jrue Holiday, who outplayed Portland’s backcourt in Round 1, took a small step back but was still effective. He averaged 20.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists on 47 percent shooting. He was unable to contain Durant’s offensive efforts, but that isn’t a knock on Holiday.
Stretch forward Nikola Mirotic averaged an inefficient 12.4 points per contest. Rajon Rondo could not make the Warriors pay enough for leaving him wide open, although he racked up the assists, averaging 11.4 and posting 21 helpers in the Pelicans’ only win.
The Warriors move on to face the Houston Rockets in a highly-anticipated Western Conference Finals match-up. The series tips off on Monday night.
The Pelicans will now try to improve their capped-out roster without the use of draft picks. Can they move expensive contracts like that of Solomon Hill? And what will they do with DeMarcus Cousins as he returns from a usually-debilitating Achilles injury? It should be an interesting summer for the Pelicans.
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