Pelicans.com postgame: Warriors 104, Pelicans 93
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
OAKLAND – The New Orleans Pelicans have hovered around the .500 mark for virtually the entire 2013-14 regular season, never more than one game over or three games under the break-even point. As you might expect given that fact, Pelicans games have nearly always been competitive and rarely one-sided.
The majority of Tuesday’s visit to the Bay Area was one notable exception. For the first time since Anthony Davis was sidelined by injury Dec. 1, New Orleans (11-12) was clearly outplayed by its opponent. Behind a dominant performance from star point guard Stephen Curry, Golden State (14-12) charged to an 18-point halftime lead and expanded the edge to 26 in the third quarter. The Warriors led wire-to-wire, after quickly racing to a 16-6 edge six minutes into the game.
New Orleans did make things semi-interesting in the fourth quarter, methodically cutting into its deficit after Golden State began subbing out its first string. After a significant chunk of a raucous crowd at Oracle Arena had already exited for the parking lot, the visitors mounted a rally, forcing Warriors Coach Mark Jackson to shuttle his starters back into the game. The group secured the victory by playing the Pelicans evenly over the final five-plus minutes. Curry led the Warriors with 28 points and 12 assists, compiled almost exclusively in the first three quarters.
For the second straight game to open their five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pelicans shot poorly from the field (37.5 percent) and three-point range (5-for-18), making it extremely difficult to remain within shouting distance of the high-powered Warriors. On Sunday, the Nuggets pulled away in the second half when the Pelicans went through an extended offensive drought.
New Orleans was outscored Tuesday in every quarter except the fourth, when it posted a 28-16 advantage. Austin Rivers sparked the second unit with 11 points, his second straight double-figure scoring game. Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans with 21 points, but he was just 6-for-16 from the floor. Anderson and Jrue Holiday (11 points, six assists) re-entered the game in the fourth quarter after New Orleans had created a few anxious moments for those Golden State fans who decided to stick around.
“We had a big fourth quarter, but we’ve got to understand the kind of juice we’ve got to have to start the game,” said Pelicans Coach Monty Williams, whose team visits the L.A. Clippers in a back-to-back Wednesday night. “We’ve got to get that right for tomorrow.”
It doesn't get any easier on paper for New Orleans over the next few days, with games against the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers, two of the West's premier teams so far. It will be the first meeting of the season for the Pelicans against both talented offensive clubs.
"We know we need to play differently," Anderson said. "We just have to play better defense and tonight was just one of those nights again. We know we can play better and we will."