Western Conference First Round Game #4: Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans

2015 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals

#1 Golden State Warriors at #8 New Orleans Pelicans
Warriors lead Best of Seven Series 3-0
Game #4 – Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, Louisiana
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Golden State -6 1/2
Current Line: Golden State -6 1/2
Opening Total: 206
Current Total: 206 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -270 / Pelicans +225
Current Money Line: Warriors -280 / Pelicans +240

The Warriors look to complete the sweep Saturday at the Pelicans.
The Warriors look to complete the sweep Saturday at the Pelicans.

Despite not playing a complete game so far in the series, the Golden State Warriors are still one win away from completing a four game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Pelicans will try to avoid elimination in game four Saturday in New Orleans.

Golden State won game one 106-99, but led by 25 near the end of the third. In game two, Golden State was down 13 early but came back to win 97-87. Both of those games were in Oakland.

The series shifted to New Orleans for game #3 Thursday. The Pelicans took an 11 point lead into halftime and expanded it the lead to 20 by the end of the third. While New Orleans came up just short in their huge rally in game one, Golden State would complete a successful comeback in game three. Golden State relied on offensive rebounds to fuel the comeback. New Orleans forward Anthony Davis missed a free throw with 9.6 seconds left that would have given the Pelicans a four point lead. Golden State guard Stephen Curry missed a game tying three but forward Marreese Speights corralled the rebound and passed it back to Curry. He hit an incredible three at the buzzer over Davis to send it into overtime. Replays showed it should have been called a foul on Davis and Curry should have been given a chance at the game winning four point play.

Still, in overtime, Golden State never trailed after Curry hit a three pointer at the beginning of the extra period. The Warriors led by 6 at one point and held on for the 4 point win, 123-119. It was the first time since the inception of the shot clock that the Warriors won a game when trailing by 20 or more points entering the fourth quarter in 358 such games.

Curry had 40 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Klay Thompson added 28 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Draymond Green had 12 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Shaun Livingston had 12 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Harrison Barnes had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.

Davis had 29 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Ryan Anderson had 26 points, and 5 rebounds off the bench for the Pelicans. Tyreke Evans had 19 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Norris Cole added 16 points off the bench.

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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 48-37 ATS this season and the total is 43-41-1. The Pelicans were 5.5 point underdogs in game three and the total was 203.

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. The Warriors are 47-37-1 ATS and the total is 40-44-1 this season.

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 questionable with a back injury after missing the last 3 games. James Michael McAdoo is questionable with an illness.

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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 questionable 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.

Golden State is 13-4 ATS in Saturday games, 15-5 in first round games, 7-3 against teams with winning home records, 7-19 on one day rest, 0-7 after a straight up win, 0-6 overall, against Western Conference teams, and against Southwest teams, 0-5 after failing to cover, and after scoring 100 points or more, 0-4 after allowing 100 points or more, and against teams with winning records. The under is 8-3-1 in this series recently.

New Orleans is 6-0 ATS at home, 4-0 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western C0nference teams, 5-1 after a straight up loss, 13-3 against Pacific teams, 6-2 on one day rest, and 20-7 against teams with winning road records. The home team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. The Pelicans have covered the last 4 games against the Warriors, and were the underdogs in each of those games. New Orleans is 3-1-1 ATS at home against Golden State recently.

It will be tough for a young team like the Pelicans to recover from such a devastating loss in game three. Golden State also has more depth and I think they finish off the series in another high scoring game.

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