Ball movement, smothering defense and efficient shooting is typically the recipe for playoff success for the Golden State Warriors.
The New Orleans Pelicans stole a chapter out of the Warriors cookbook Friday night, handing Golden State their second loss of the post season in deciding fashion, 119-100.
Much of the Pelicans’ offense was run through starting point guard Rajon Rondo who finished the game with 21 assists. Anthony Davis proved to be a beneficiary of Rondo’s assists as he scored 14 of his 33 total points in the third quarter alone.
Over the course of the previous two games played in the series, the Warriors had looked as though they had rediscovered their identity of a gritty, offensively fluid team.
Coming out of the gates, the Warriors began the first quarter 1-for-9 from the floor. Golden State’s shooting was so bad that they didn’t find find the bottom of the net until the 9:45 mark of the first period.
On the other side of the floor, the Warriors didn’t find much success either. Allowing 31 first quarter points for the second time this series, the Warriors gave up five three pointers in the first quarter alone including three straight by Solon Thomas.
The majority of the second quarter didn’t look much better than the first for Golden State. As the three-point barrage continued for New Orleans, the Warriors quickly found themselves down by as much as 15. An 8-2 run before half time would shrink the Pelicans lead to only 6 heading into the locker room.
Coming out after halftime, the Warriors looked to capitalize on their signature third quarter, when they scored more than any other team during the regular season. But the Pelicans hijacked the Warriors blueprint again, blitzing Golden State with a 30-19 third.
While New Orleans poured it on, the Warriors were not short on effort trying to climb their way back into the game. The deciding factor proved to be Golden State’s was horrendous shooting.
Durant who typically prides himself on efficiency scoring the ball was only able to score 22 points while shooting 8-for-18 from the floor. Thompson, who had a stellar series shooting the ball against San Antonio, went 9-for-22 for 26 points. Stephen Curry, in his first start in nearly six weeks since injuring his MCL, shot 6-for-19 and scored only 19 points.
Overall, Golden State shot an un-Warriors-like 38 percent as a team including 29 percent from the three-point-line. On the other hand, New Orleans hit 50 percent of their shots including 45 percent of their threes.
Missing the opportunity to play for their first sweep of the post-season, the Warriors will set their sights on a game 4 in order to go up 3-1 in the series. Now with a taste of a champion’s dish, it will be up to Golden State to show the New Orleans Pelicans who wrote the recipe in the first place.