National Basketball Association
Preview
New Orleans at Golden State
When: 10:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 28, 2018
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

The New Orleans Pelicans were surprisingly dominant in sweeping the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, but a much bigger challenge looms. The Pelicans will try to get an early advantage when they visit the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday.

New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis averaged 33 points on 57.6 percent shooting and 11.8 rebounds in the four-game sweep of Portland, and the team is not intimidated by facing the defending champs. "Our guys have a hunger and they see an opportunity here and I think we'll play at our highest level and compete like crazy, and then whatever happens from that we're willing to accept," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who was an assistant on Golden State's staff during its 2015 championship run, told The Undefeated. "I just say we just got to be able to compete to the point where we give ourselves an opportunity to win." The Warriors knocked out the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the first round without star point guard Stephen Curry (knee), who is practicing with the team but remains a question mark for Game 1. "He’s questionable," Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters of Curry. "A big part of (whether Curry will play) is how he (looks Saturday) after a night’s rest. It’s the first time he’s scrimmaged in about five or six weeks. It’s not as simple as he feels good, let's put him out there. It's more about, give him a few days and see how he responds."

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE PELICANS: Davis is the unquestioned leader of the team, but guards Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo and power forward Nikola Mirotic are keys to an offense that is running at high speed. Holiday averaged 27.8 points on 56.8 percent shooting against the Trail Blazers while Rondo averaged 13.3 assists. "The unselfishness," Rondo told the team's website, when asked which area the Pelicans have shown the most growth this season. "I think we’re rooting for the next man beside us. Early in the season, I couldn’t really say that for this team. But now, it seems like guys are happy for one another, genuinely. Regardless of whether guys are playing bad or playing great, when we come in that locker room, if we got a ‘W’, everyone has the same mindset, the same joy for each other."

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Curry sat out the last 15 games with a knee sprain and is itching to get back on the floor. "I'm getting there, for sure," Curry told reporters. "I've done a lot in the last two weeks, especially on my feet moving, getting back to movements that I expect to do in the games and try to build that tolerance and intensity. My knee feels pretty good. I don't have any pain with doing the things that I've been doing." Kevin Durant averaged 28.2 points in the first round to help cover some of Curry's lost scoring while shooting guard Klay Thompson averaged 22.6 points and shot 51.6 percent from 3-point range.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Mirotic averaged 18.3 points on 57.1 percent shooting against Portland.

2. Warriors PF Draymond Green averaged 11.2 rebounds in the first round but shot 35.7 percent from the floor.

3. Golden State swept New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs in 2015 and took three of four meetings during the regular season.

PREDICTION: Warriors 120, Pelicans 115
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
New Orleans 52-34 W9 26-17 26-17 5-4 47-30 9-7 31-25
Golden State 62-25 W1 32-12 30-13 10-6 52-19 13-3 38-19
Last Meeting
New Orleans Golden State
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/7/18 NO 126 GS 120 126 34 56.3 120 42 54.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
New Orleans A. Davis 34 54.2 8
Golden State K. Durant 41 61.5 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
New Orleans A. Davis 12 3 9
Golden State K. Durant 10 0 10
Assists Player  
New Orleans R. Rondo 17
Golden State D. Green 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
New Orleans A. Davis 2324 53.2 567
Golden State K. Durant 1985 51.2 400
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
New Orleans A. Davis 914 210 704
Golden State D. Green 608 91 517
Assists Player  
New Orleans R. Rondo 594
Golden State D. Green 563
Quickchart Matchup
New Orleans New Orleans Off vs  Golden State Golden State Defense
New Orleans Off vs Golden State - Points For 111.8 Points For
New Orleans Off vs Golden State - Points Against 106.9 Points Against
New Orleans - FG% 48.5 FG%
Golden State - FG% 44.5 FG%
New Orleans - Reb 44.3 Reb
Golden State - Reb 42.2 Reb
Golden State Golden State Off vs  New Orleans New Orleans Defense
Golden State Off vs New Orleans - Points For 113.0 Points For
Golden State Off vs New Orleans - Points Against 110.2 Points Against
Golden State - FG% 50.1 FG%
New Orleans - FG% 45.4 FG%
Golden State - Reb 43.7 Reb
New Orleans - Reb 45.4 Reb