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Warriors take care of Pelicans in overtime

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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NEW ORLEANS — In winning their previous 15 games, the Golden State Warriors had dispatched their opponents by an average of 12.9 points, suffering very little heartburn in the process.

No. 16 in a row — a 128-122 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday at the Smoothie King Center that extended the Warriors’ NBA-best record to 21-2 — was enough of a struggle to give first-year coach Steve Kerr just a touch of indigestion.

Kerr, however, has a medicine cabinet-full of of antacid. Guard Stephen Curry poured in 34 points, including eight on two 3-pointers and a mid-range jumper in a 17-11 overtime period, and backcourt mate Klay Thompson added 29 to keep Golden State’s magical ride going.

The 21-2 record matches the third-best start in NBA history.

Kerr was wary before the game because the Warriors were coming off an exhausting 105-98 road victory at Dallas on Saturday night — Golden State’s ninth consecutive road win. And it might have been easy for the Warriors to look past the Pelicans (11-12), who were playing without All-Star forward Anthony Davis, sidelined with a bruised chest.

“This is kind of what I expected,” Kerr said. “Not the crazy pyrotechnics from Steph, although that doesn’t ever surprise me. It was a natural letdown — in Dallas yesterday, an emotional win, no Anthony Davis. It’s just human nature.

“We got outplayed. Generally speaking, what I say to our guys is if we defend and take care of the ball, we have a chance to win, and we didn’t do either one. We turned it over (20 times) and we didn’t guard. But thankfully, we’ve got really, really talented players and we have an incredibly strong, competitive desire to win.”

Somehow, the Warriors dug deep. They trailed 107-99 with 4:14 left in regulation when reserve forward Dante Cunningham drove to the basket on a pick and roll and slammed home a dunk on a feed from point guard Jrue Holiday.

But Golden State decided to stop taking perimeter shots — the Warriors had missed their first four from long range in the quarter — and instead went inside to spark an 11-2 spurt that gave them a 110-109 lead with 1:35 left.

Regulation ended 111-111 when Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans, who scored a season-high 34 points, missed a running, 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

In overtime, it was all Curry. He opened with an 18-foot jumper, and forward Draymond Green drove to the basket around Ryan Anderson for a layup and foul shot, extending the Golden State lead to 116-111.

When Curry nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing and followed up with another long-range jumper from the left side, Golden State was in control, 123-114, with 2:35 left.

“I tried to take my time and get in a rhythm,” Curry said. “Thankfully, I got a mid-range two to drop and they started to adjust, and we found open shots and finished the game off. Those five extra minutes we had enough in the tank to get it done.”

New Orleans coach Monty Williams praised his team’s effort in playing without Davis. The Pelicans got backed into a corner when Evans picked up his fifth foul with 5:25 left in regulation — on a charge into center Marreese Speights.

“Our guys fought their tails off,” Williams said. “We just came up short. To have a chance to win against the best team in the league says a lot about our guys.”

Point guard Jrue Holiday had another solid game for New Orleans — scoring 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting and dishing out nine assists — but he may have run out of gas in overtime after playing 45:26.

“You’ve just got to make plays,” Holiday said. “In the last couple of games, me and Tyreke have tried to step up, especially with (guard) Eric (Gordon) being out. You’ve got to make something happen. That’s part of the NBA.”

Golden State forward Harrison Barnes took an elbow to the face from Cunningham early in the second quarter. Barnes was stitched up in the locker room but returned for the second half.

NOTES: The Warriors are now 13-1 on the road, including a 10-game road winning streak. … The Pelicans still can’t figure out how F Anthony Davis bruised his chest in a Friday night victory over Cleveland, but the All-Star forward sat out Sunday’s game against Golden State. “I think he’s day-to-day,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “He probably needs a day of practice just to see how he can get back out there. It’s a freak deal, and when you have those situations you want to make sure you’re right.” … Warriors C Andrew Bogut sat out a second consecutive game after getting his right knee drained. “He needs to just get out on the floor and get some work in,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr. “It’s good that he’s getting active again.” … The Warriors’ incredibly fast start isn’t going to their heads. “We’re off to a great start, but we definitely have a long way to go,” said G Klay Thompson. It’s the NBA. Anything could happen.”

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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