The Warriors dominated the Pelicans in Game 1 of the second round, defeating the Pelicans in the first 3 quarters of the game by a combined 29 points before a garbage time 4th quarter. Here are some notes regarding the series so far:
-The Warriors defense held the Pelicans to 43.8 percent shooting in the game, which by the Warriors' defensive standards is good, not great, but in terms of the Pelicans' recent play, it's impressive. That percentage is the lowest the Pelicans have shot in their last 14 games, dating back to March 24th. Since DeMarcus Cousins went down with an injury on January 26th, the Pelicans have been one of the best shooting teams in the NBA. The Warriors defense was up to the challenge in Game 1, but they should expect a much more aggressive Pelicans team in Game 2.
-From January 26th through the rest of the regular season, the Pelicans were the fifth best team in the NBA in securing rebounds. On average, they rebounded the ball a little over 46 times per game. The Warriors on the other hand were in the bottom half of the league during that same time period. And yet, in Game 1, the Warriors continued their aggressive rebounding from the Spurs series, by grabbing 57 rebounds to the Pelicans' 42.
-Kevon Looney finished Game 1 with an outstanding +34 in 24 minutes of play. While his traditional stats were good but nothing to write home about (3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Looney was consistently switching on defense, contesting shots, using his length in passing lanes and even holding his own when defending Anthony Davis. What is most impressive about his performance was his +34 was the best +/- in his career, just one point above the +33 he posted in 30 minutes of play at Chicago on January 27th. That game was a relatively meaningless regular season game against a tanking team, while this game was a second round playoff matchup against one of the NBA superstars. Thats no small feat.
-Nick Young started in Game 1 of the series in order to increase the spacing on the floor after the Warriors coaches watched the Pelicans throw double teams against the stars on the Blazers the round before. With Steph Curry likely to return for Game 2, look for Nick Young to return to the bench and potentially Andre Iguodala as well. While very possible, it is unlikely that the Warriors will want to start the game with their 'Hamptons 5' lineup right off the bat, so the most predictable lineup for Game 2 after reviewing the Game 1 performance would be Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, Looney. But then again, the Warriors' lineups have been anything but predictable this season.