The Golden State Warriors earned a commanding victory in game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 123-101.
The Warriors came into this game with a streak of 12 straight home playoff wins, having not lost at Oracle Arena in the postseason since 2016.
After days of anticipation, Stephen Curry was held out of game 1, but it appears like he could very well be ready to go for game 2.
The Warriors went small with their starting lineup. JaVale McGee started every game of the opening series, but he came off the bench this game.
Nick Young was inserted into the starting lineup to join Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green.
The Pelicans opted to go with a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Nikola Mirotic, and Anthony Davis.
A fast-paced, back-and-forth first quarter concluded with the Warriors holding a slim 35-34 lead over the Pelicans. Durant had 12 points for the Warriors after the first quarter, and Green hauled in 7 rebounds. Davis led the Pelicans with 10 points on 5-7 from the field.
Each team was executing their offense impeccably. The Pelicans shot a remarkable 60% in the opening quarter, while the Warriors shot 45%.
Neither team was doing much damage from beyond the arc, though. The two teams were a combined 4-13 from 3-point range in the opening quarter.
Despite the Warriors shooting worse than the Pelicans, they were out-rebounding them. They grabbed 7 offensive rebounds in the first quarter while the Pelicans had none.
The Warriors began the second quarter on a 13-5 run to create some space between them and the Pelicans. They kicked things into high gear around the midway point of the second quarter. They further extended their lead with a 24-9 run to end the half.
Rondo hit a full court shot to beat the buzzer to cut the lead to 21, but halftime arrived with the Warriors still holding a commanding 76-55 lead.
Durant and Thompson each had 18 points at the half for the Warriors, while Green had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists by halftime. After a strong first quarter, Davis was held to only 2 points in the second quarter as his team fell further behind.
Both teams shot well in the first half, and the Warriors only had 1 more field goal attempt than the Pelicans despite a 21 point lead.
The difference was in the number of free throws each team shot. The Warriors shot 23 free throws in the first half while the Pelicans only shot 6.
Green was having a phenomenal night on both ends of the court. He earned a triple-double before the third quarter was halfway over.
The Warriors played another solid quarter and increased their lead to 29 by the time the third quarter ended. Moore hit a shot to beat the buzzer, but the Warriors still entered the final quarter with a 103-72 lead over the Pelicans.
The Warriors shot 54% from the field through three quarters, including 10-20 on field goals behind the 3-point line. The Warriors had also tallied 27 assists in the first three quarters and held the Pelicans to just 41% on field goals and 5-17 on 3-point field goals.
Davis had 21 points and 10 rebounds after three quarters, but had also registered a terrible plus/minus of -27. Durant had 26 points through three quarters, and Thompson added 21 points of his own.
The fourth quarter was merely a formality, and the Warriors held on to claim a 123-101 victory when time expired in front of their home crowd.
Thompson led the game with 27 points. Durant provided 26 points and 13 rebounds. Green finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
Davis led the Pelicans with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. However, he finished with a plus/minus of -27.
The Warriors shot 49% from the field as a team. They also tallied 33 assists and shot 41% from 3-point range to earn a dominating win to begin the semifinals.