Postgame recap: Warriors 128, Pelicans 120

BOXSCORE || PHOTOS || QUOTES || VIDEOS

Warriors (1-1), Pelicans (0-2)

For a quarter-plus Friday, a national TV audience and sellout crowd in the Smoothie King Center witnessed some of New Orleans’ talent and potential, as the Pelicans built a 17-point lead over the NBA champion Warriors. As is often the case when facing Golden State, however, it’s much easier to play well for a half of basketball than it is to sustain that over 48 minutes.

The Warriors methodically sliced into their early deficit, then wore down the Pelicans in the second half en route to an eight-point victory. New Orleans shot lights-out prior to intermission, but cooled significantly after the break. After the Pelicans had made 54.3 percent of their shots and went 11/19 on three-pointers, they dipped to 34.6 percent in the third quarter. Golden State won the middle quarters by a combined 72-51 score.

New Orleans will head out on a three-game Western Conference road trip tomorrow, then visit the Lakers on Sunday night in search of the Pelicans’ first win.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Zaza Pachulia dropped in an uncontested layup in the final minute, followed by Stephen Curry sinking two free throws with 18 seconds left, giving Golden State a three-possession edge at 128-120. New Orleans trailed 98-90 entering the final period, kept pulling within arm’s length, but couldn’t overcome the deficit.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

For a second straight game, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins put up fairly similar numbers. This time, Davis went for 35 points and 17 rebounds in his 39 minutes of action, while Cousins posted the same 35 points – along with 14 rebounds – in 32 minutes. Unfortunately for Cousins, his playing time was curtailed a bit due to foul trouble. The Pelicans kept him in the game for a span of the third quarter despite him having four fouls, presumably partly because the Warriors appeared on the verge of taking command on the scoreboard. New Orleans needed both All-Stars on the floor as much as possible.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“We weren’t going to make all of the shots that we were making early on. I thought we needed to do a better job in transition against this team. You have to get back. You can’t let Steph and Klay (Thompson) get out and get their feet set.” – Alvin Gentry on the change in New Orleans’ offensive performance in each half

“Those last couple seconds (of the game), we were standing at the free-throw line, and we were all looking at each other (and saying), ‘We’re good. We took another huge step tonight.’ I’m proud of the way we battled. I’m looking forward to the next matchup. I think we’re in a good place.” – Cousins on the Pelicans playing much better in Game 2 than in their opener at Memphis, against the NBA’s best team

“We knew we were bigger inside and we wanted to play in the post, attack their bigs. I think we did a good job of that. All of their bigs were in foul trouble. That’s the way we want to play. We thought they were going to double-team a lot more than they did.” – Davis on he and Cousins combining for 70 points and often being too much to handle around the rim for the Warriors

BY THE NUMBERS

31: New Orleans bench scoring, including 14 points from Ian Clark and 13 by Jordan Crawford, who also dished out seven assists. Two nights earlier, Pelicans reserves mustered only eight points as a group.

28: Pelicans assists, a big improvement from finishing with only 15 at Memphis on Wednesday.

45.9: New Orleans field-goal percentage, a decent final number, but also indicative of how big of a drop-off the Pelicans experienced shooting-wise as the night progressed.

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