Warriors handle Pelicans in wire-to-wire win
ORACLE ARENA — Coming off an emotional loss in Phoenix, the Warriors were ready to come out of the gates swinging Tuesday.
After an intense practice following two consecutive losses, Golden State — with Andre Iguodala back — rolled past the New Orleans Pelicans 104-93.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson was happy with the rhythm set early by his team:
“We really needed [this win]. More importantly we needed to play our brand of basketball which we did. Offensively and defensively we took care of the basketball.”
Stephen Curry poured in 28 and David Lee added 21 points and 17 rebounds after already recording a double-double by halftime.
The Warriors started fast, as Lee put down a two-handed slam that had the crowd on their feet.
Lee has been the recipient of a swarm of criticism for his performance lately. He told SFBay he doesn’t pay attention to the media, but knows he should be playing better:
“I know from my own point of view that I want to be playing better than I’m playing and as a team we want to be better than we’ve been.”
Jrue Holiday — coming into the night averaging 15 points and eight assists per game — was held to just 11 points and three assists. He went scoreless the entire first quarter, stifled by Stephen Curry’s smothering defense.
Marreese Speights continued to step his game up, scoring four consecutive points including a driving slam dunk early in the second quarter to put the Warriors on top 30-23.
Jackson said Speights has elevated his game and is playing the way the team needs him to:
“He’s competing, he has a voice all of a sudden, and he’s locked in…really happen for him, he deserves this.”
Curry gave the Warriors a ten-point lead with 6:42 left in the second quarter, hitting a step-back three-pointer.
Without centers Anthony Davis and Greg Stiemsma, the Pelicans struggled in the paint and had a rough time keeping the Warriors from getting to rim.
Golden State closed out the game with 50 points in the paint to the Pelicans’ 34.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams said playing with a depleted team has made things difficult:
“When you don’t have Anthony, you don’t have Greg, Tyreke, and then Ryan. We’ve missed some key guys all of the season and it’s hard to make an assessment of who we are.”
Iguodala, who returned to the lineup after being out since Nov. 22 with a strained left hamstring, brought Oracle to its feet with an alley-oop from Curry late in the first half, and continued to make plays down the stretch.
The Pelicans were forced to take a timeout with 5:33 left in the third after a Warriors run put Golden State on top 78-56.
The Pelicans closed the bulge late playing against the Warriors reserves, but couldn’t hold on. Coach Jackson put his starters back in and the Warriors maintained a double-digit lead up to the final buzzer.
The Warriors, now 14-12 overall, continue their homestand facing San Antonio, Thursday on at 7:30 on TNT.
The Warriors improved to 9-2 with the starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. … The Pelicans are now 0-9 vs. teams with a record of .500-or-better on the day of the game. … Stephen Curry has scored 20-plus points in a career-best 11 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the NBA this season. David Lee recorded his sixth-consecutive double-double with 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.