2015 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference First Round
#1 Golden State Warriors vs #8 New Orleans Pelicans
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Golden State -4000 / New Orleans +2000
Game #1 – Oracle Arena – Oakland, California
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Game #1 Opening Line: Golden State -10 1/2
Current Line: Golden State -11 1/2
Opening Total: 203
Current Total: 204 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -700 / Pelicans +525
Current Money Line: Warriors -925 / Pelicans +720
The 67-15 Golden State Warriors have the best record in the NBA and were only 5 wins away from tying the all-time record for wins set by the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Golden State opens the playoffs Saturday at home against the 45-37 New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference First round. The winner will face either the #4 Portland Trail Blazers or #5 Memphis Grizzlies in the conference semifinals.
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.
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.
Golden State went 3-1 against New Orleans this season, but the Pelicans’ star forward Anthony Davis did not play in two of those games. The Warriors won at home 112-85 December 4 and 112-96 March 20. Golden State won in New Orleans 128-122 in overtime December 14. The Pelicans won at home 103-100 April 7 after Golden State had already clinched the best record in the league.
The Pelicans won 3 of their last 4 games including 2 straight wins. New Orleans won at home Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs 108-103. The win clinched the playoff spot for the Pelicans. San Antonio could have clinched the Southwest title and the #2 seed in the playoffs with a win in that game. The Spurs had won 11 straight games before then. New Orleans went 45-37 ATS this season and the total was 42-40. The Pelicans were 5.5 point underdogs against the Spurs and the total was 193.
Golden State went 16-2 down the stretch including 4 straight wins. The Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets at home 133-126 Wednesday night in the regular season finale. Golden State improved to 39-2 at home this season with the win. The only losses at home for the Warriors came to the Chicago Bulls in overtime in late January and the Spurs in early November. The Warriors are 47-34-1 ATS and the total is 39-43 this season. Golden State was an 11.5 point favorite against Denver and the total was 215.5.
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. 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.
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. 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 5-1 ATS against Pacific Division teams, 2-5 after a cover, 3-9 in first round round playoff games, 1-4 after a straight up win, and after scoring 100 points or more, 1-5 against teams with winning home records, and 0-5 in road games. The under is 7-2 in this series overall and 6-2 in Oakland.
Golden State is 15-2 ATS in first round playoff games, 24-8-1 after allowing more than 125 points, 8-3 against Southwest Division teams, 9-4 against teams with winning records, 37-17-1 on 2 days rest, 34-16-1 in Saturday games, 1-4 at home, and after scoring 100 points or more, 1-5 after allowing 100 points or more, overall and against Western Conference teams, and 0-4 after a straight up win. The home team has covered the last 4 games in this series. The favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in this series recently. The Warriors are 7-2-1 ATS against the Pelicans recently including 4-0 in Oakland.
As long as Anthony Davis is on the court, New Orleans has a fighting shot in every game. However, Golden State is simply too good, especially at home. The Pelicans might steal a game in this series at home but Golden State wins the series in five games. It starts in game #1 with a Warriors victory in a high scoring affair.