2015 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference First Round
#8 New Orleans Pelicans at #1 Golden State Warriors
Warriors lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Game #2 – Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Monday, April 20, 2015, 10:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Golden State -11 1/2
Current Line: Golden State -12 1/2
Opening Total: 205
Current Total: 205 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -900 / Pelicans +600
Current Money Line: Warriors -1100 / Pelicans +750
For three quarters against the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday the Golden State Warriors looked like the dominant team that won 67 games during the regular season. With less than a minute left in the third quarter of game one of the Western Conference quarterfinals, Golden State led by 25 points. The Pelicans would close the quarter on a 7-0 run to pull within 18, which was also the margin at halftime. New Orleans would keep the momentum in the fourth quarter and actually pulled to within four points with less than a minute left. Golden State would hold on for the 106-99 win, but it shouldn’t have been that close. Game two is Monday night in Oakland, where Golden State is 40-2 this season.
Star forward Anthony Davis of the Pelicans scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Davis added 7 rebounds and 4 blocks in the first of what should be many playoff games for the incredibly talented Davis. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome Golden State’s Stephen Curry’s 34 points. The likely league MVP also added 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. All five Golden State starters scored in double digits, including 21 from Klay Thompson. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut dominated down low with a combined 26 rebounds. Quincy Pondexter of New Orleans added 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in the loss.
Part of the reason the game was closer than it should have been is the normally good free throw shooting Warriors missed 13 of 34 free throws in the game. Both the Pelicans and Warriors shot over 40% in the game.
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New Orleans, coached by Monty Williams, finished 5th in the Southwest Division, which became the second division to send all five of their teams to the playoffs in the same season joining the 2006 Central Division. The Pelicans tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the #8 seed. However, New Orleans won the head to head tiebreaker by winning 3 of the 4 contests against the Thunder in the regular season. The Pelicans are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. New Orleans is 46-37 ATS this season and the total is 42-40-1. The Pelicans were 12.5 point underdogs in game one and the total was 205.
Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. The Warriors won the Pacific Division by 11 games over the Los Angeles Clippers. It was the first division title for the Warriors since 1976. The Warriors are in the playoffs for the third straight season but few people thought they would make the leap to an elite team so soon. It is one of the reasons Kerr is considered one of the favorites for coach of the year. The Warriors are 47-35-1 ATS and the total is 39-43-1 this season.
New Orleans is outscoring teams 99-98 this season. The Pelicans are shooting 45.6% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. New Orleans is in the top ten in both categories in the NBA. The Pelicans make 75.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.5% from the field and 33.5% from 3 point range. New Orleans is #2 in three point defense but #21 in field goal defense. The Pelicans average 43.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.6 per game. New Orleans is #6 in rebounds allowed. The Pelicans average 22.1 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 6.7 steals and 6.2 blocks per game.
Anthony Davis averages 24.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. He is considered a dark horse for the MVP. Tyreke Evans averages 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is questionable with a knee injury. Jrue Holiday averages 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He is probable with a leg injury. Ryan Anderson averages 13.9 points, and 4.9 rebounds per game. Eric Gordon averages 13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Norris Cole averages 10.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Quincy Pondexter averages 9.2 points, 3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
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Golden State is outscoring teams 110-100 this season. The Warriors lead the league in scoring. Golden State is shooting 47.8% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Warriors are #1 in both categories in the league. Golden State is #9 in free throw shooting at 76.8% from the line. Opponents are shooting 42.8% from the field and 33.7% from 3 point range. The Warriors are #1 in field goal defense and #5 in three point defense. Golden State averages 44.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.5 per game. Golden State is #6 in rebounding but #24 in rebounds allowed. The Warriors average 27.4 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 9.3 steals and 6.1 blocks per game.
Guard Stephen Curry averages 23.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 2 steals per game. He is locked in an epic battle with Houston’s James Harden for the MVP, but Curry is considered a slight favorite because the Warriors are a better team. Klay Thompson averages 21.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Draymond Green averages 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Marreese Speights averages 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Harrison Barnes averages 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Other key players in the rotation include David Lee, Andre Igoudala, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut and Shaun Livingston. Lee is out with a back injury.
New Orleans is 6-1 ATS against Pacific Division teams, 5-2 on one day rest, 4-9 in Monday games, and in first round games, 2-5 against teams with winning home records, and 1-5 in road games. The under is 7-2-1 overall in this series and 6-2-1 in Oakland.
Golden State is 15-3 ATS in first round playoff games, 21-7 in Monday games, 1-4 after a cover, against teams with winning records, and on one day rest, 0-4 at home, overall, against Western Conference teams, against Southwest teams, against teams with losing road records, and after scoring 100 points or more and 0-5 after a straight up win. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Warriors are 7-3-1 ATS against the Pelicans including 4-1 in Oakland.
If Davis plays as aggressively as he did in the fourth then New Orleans has a chance. In the first three quarters he tried to get his teammates involved, which is admirable but he needs to do more. The fourth quarter debacle could actually be good for Golden State too because they learned not to get complacent. I think the Warriors win game two rather handily to take a 2-0 series lead before the series shifts to New Orleans.