|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)00:3019:30 ET5:30 PM CT22:30 , May 3, 2021
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana Attendance: 3,700
Warriors, Pelicans square off in crucial back-to-back
Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans
- The Warriors are 25-4 against the Pelicans in the regular season since the 2012-13 season (and they have won two postseason series against New Orleans in that time). That's the best record by an NBA team against a conference opponent over the last nine seasons.
- The Pelicans trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter of their win over the Timberwolves on Saturday. That's their second largest fourth-quarter deficit overcome to win a game this season; New Orleans trailed by 13 points in the final period of their win over the Celtics on February 21.
- The Warriors reeled off 24 straight points in the third quarter of their win over the Rockets on Saturday, which was their second longest unanswered scoring run under Steve Kerr (25 straight points against Brooklyn on March 6, 2018.
- Stephen Curry has made 45.9 percent of his three-point attempts at home this season, but only 39.5 percent on the road. That would be his second largest home/road disparity in three-point percentage (2016-17: 46.6% at home, 35.6% on the road).
- Lonzo Ball scored a career-high 33 points on Saturday against the Timberwolves for the first 30-point game of his NBA career.
- Zion Williamson has made 10 or more field goals and shot 80 percent or highest in seven games this season, including Saturday against the Timberwolves (14 for 17, 82.4%). He's the first NBA player with seven such games in one season since Charles Barkley had seven in 1989-90.
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The Golden State Warriors have a cushion.
The New Orleans Pelicans don't.
The Warriors (32-32) are in position to qualify for the Western Conference play-in tournament. The Pelicans (29-35) are three games behind the Warriors.
But these teams will meet in the first game of a back-to-back on Monday night in New Orleans. They'll also meet May 14 in San Francisco, with the winner of two or more of these games claiming the tie-breaker edge.
"It helps a lot that our destiny is in our hands," said Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, who had a career-high 33 points and matched his career best of eight 3-pointers in a 140-136 overtime win at Minnesota on Saturday. "We don't really have to worry about anybody else. It all depends on us.
"We have three games against (Golden State). It's not going to be easy at all. We know it's a tough task. But it's possible. And that's all we can ask for -- a chance."
The Pelicans were in danger of losing control of their fate when they fell behind the Timberwolves by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter. But Zion Williamson led a 16-6 closing surge to force overtime, then scored seven of his 27 points in the extra period.
"This team has never quit on anything," Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Though the comeback enabled New Orleans to maintain control of its play-in fate, the Pelicans have almost no margin for error with eight games remaining.
After the back-to-back games against the Warriors concludes Tuesday, New Orleans embarks on a five-game road trip before returning home for the regular-season finale against the Lakers.
"I love that our fate is not in anybody else's hands," Williamson said. "It's on us to go out there and get the win. You can't ask for anything better than that, in the situation we're currently in."
Golden State is jockeying with the Spurs for the final two play-in spots and finishing off the Pelicans would enable the Warriors to focus on seeding rather than just qualifying.
They trailed by six points at halftime in Houston on Saturday, but Steph Curry scored 15 points during a 24-0 third-quarter run that sent Golden State on its way to an easy 113-87 victory.
"The first half, we just couldn't get anything going," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Obviously, we thrive on Steph so when he couldn't hit shots early, we were kind of stuck in the mud. But in the second half, once he made a couple of shots, our energy picked up, our body language was better, and we were able to take control."
Curry, who shot 2-of-12 in the first half, had 23 of his 30 points in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored Houston 39-12.
"One of the most remarkable things about Steph is that he can be in the midst of what looks like his worst game of the entire season, and then just explode," Kerr said.
Curry has scored 30-plus points in 15 of his last 17 games.
"There was a little cloud hanging over us (after the first half)," Curry said. "We didn't play terrible in the first half, but we just didn't make any shots. We needed some joy, some energy, some good vibes and smiles."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 2, 2021