Warriors defeat Pelicans, 120-109, in urgent comeback win


Despite the final score showing a double-digit, 120-109, victory over New Orleans, the Golden State Warriors could not have asked for an uglier start against the Pelicans on Tuesday.

It was a classic slow start as the Warriors struggled to take care of the ball, did little to defend the three-point line and were dominated on the glass. On top of all that, Draymond Green was involved in two notable on-court altercations that did more to embarrass the Dubs vet than light a fire under Golden State.

The first resulted in Green’s 17th technical foul of the season after a shoulder-check to Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram sparked some tussling and resulted in a double tech to each player. The second was arguably more egregious under a neutral viewpoint as, after Herb Jones took a charge from Green, the two became entangled and the Warriors forward tried to kick out of it.

In a way, this did end up helping the Warriors, even if the 63-46 halftime deficit seemed to indicate otherwise at first. 

Since Green was assessed only a common foul for the charge in the second of his two scuffle-igniting acts of aggression — ironic given his commentary on Luka Doncic getting away with a tech — he was allowed to stay in the game. This allowed him to continue doing what he does best: be really annoying toward the opposing team. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic noted, it worked out pretty well for the Dubs.

“Draymond Green has spent the opening minutes of the second half chirping at the Pelicans bench,” Slater wrote. “Just threw up a timeout signal after Klay Thompson hit that 3. Quick 8-0 Warriors run out of the break.”

The early stages of the comeback were underway. Following that scoring burst, the Warriors kept chipping away at a deficit that was as high as 20 points. It helped that the Dubs had seriously cut back on their careless turnovers — they committed 14 in the first half — that put them in this position to begin with. Then came a sequence of possessions that turned things in Golden State’s favor before the scoreboard did.

With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, Steph Curry missed a three-pointer. Lucky for him, Kevon Looney was under the basket to beat three Pelicans players to the rebound, and bounce the ball off the backboard so he could properly corral it. He tossed it back to Curry, who sunk his follow-up attempt. 

Two possessions later, with Curry sinking another three in between, Looney was back to being a monster on the glass again, beating two more Pelicans players for the rebound and passing the ball to Anthony Lamb, who found a wide open Jordan Poole. However, Poole missed his shot and Looney once again sprung into action. The big man grabbed another rebound while three opposing players were around him, and dumped the ball off to Curry, who scored the crowd-popping three. As if that weren’t enough, the Dubs got a steal which led to a fast-break dunk. When all was said and done, an 85-74 deficit was cut down to 89-85.

Not even Lamb fumbling a chance at a buzzer-beating shot while an open Curry and Poole were beside him could halt the fury the team was unleashing. The Warriors were forcing turnovers while eliminating the Pelicans’ fast break game entirely and getting good, clean shots for their star shooters. Once Golden State took back a 95-94 lead with 9:10 left in the fourth, its first lead since the first quarter, the team never looked back.

The Dubs lived dangerously during this game, to say the least. Had the mistakes of the first half continued, the inevitable loss that would have followed would have done serious damage to the team’s prospects heading into the postseason. But they didn’t just pull off a comeback, they pulled off a comeback playing the style of basketball that has won the team four championships in this current era. The slow start might have left a lot to be desired, but the strong finish should definitely leave a lot of teams in the West concerned.


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