Warriors continue to win on road, defeating Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS -- The Golden State Warriors have been true road warriors, playing more road games -- 25 -- at this point of the season than any other team in the NBA.
But after a 97-87 comeback victory over the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday night at the New Orleans Arena improved their road record to 14-11, the Warriors (26-16) are wistfully anticipating some badly needed home cooking before the All-Star break with nine of their next 11 games at home.
"Just because we're going home doesn't mean success is going to happen automatically," said guard Stephen Curry, whose team-high 28 points lifted the Warriors to their seventh consecutive victory over New Orleans. "We already proved that theory wrong against Denver before we went on this trip. We're excited to go home in front of our fans, but we've got to keep the same energy we had in the second half tonight and do that consistently when we go home."
The Warriors had plenty of stiff obstacles to overcome. They were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and they didn't get to their New Orleans hotel until 4 a.m. Saturday after a rough loss at Oklahoma City.
The Warriors were coming off consecutive losses in which they had scored 116 points against Denver and 121 points against the Thunder. It seemed like a perfect trap game when the Warriors allowed the injury-riddled Pelicans to score 54 points in the first half and take a 54-52 lead into the locker room.
But in the final two quarters, the Warriors resurrected their missing defensive pressure and held the Pelicans to 33 points on 33 percent shooting (13 of 39). They did it by finally slowing down New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, who scored 21 first-half points on seven of 10 shooting and finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds.
But other than Davis -- who made 11 of 17 from the floor -- the rest of the Pelicans shot 31.8 percent. Eric Gordon, coming off a 35-point outing in a 103-100 loss to Houston, went three of 17. Golden State held the Pelicans to 38.6 percent shooting overall, the 16th time they have held an opponent under 40 percent shooting, second-best in the league to Indiana.
"We had a number of possessions where we just couldn't score the ball," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "We were 23 for 53 in the paint -- 30 missed shots inside the paint. A.D. Goes 31 and 17, and you've got a good chance to win. We just had so many other guys that had a tough time putting the ball in the hole tonight."
Forward David Lee added 22 points for the Warriors, who held the Pelicans without a field goal in the final 4:32.
Lee said the Warriors made some good halftime adjustments against Davis, trying to make sure there was weakside defensive help when he got close to lane. But Lee said Davis still was a handful.
"It's his length," Lee said. "When you're on a back-to-back and you're worn out and sore, that's the last kind of guy you want to play against. We did a much better job controlling him I the second half, but it takes an adjustment. What makes him tough is not only is he good at finishing in the lane, but he's also able to hit that 15-, 17-footer with decent consistency."
Curry scored eight of Golden State's final 12 points to close out the Pelicans (15-24), who lost their eighth consecutive game. Curry added nine points in the third quarter, including seven straight in a 14-2 Golden State surge, to put the Warriors on top 78-66 before the Pelicans closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to 78-72 at the end of three.
The Warriors trailed by 11 before closing the half with a 13-4 run, getting seven points from Curry on a 3-pointer from the top of the key and two layups, cutting the deficit to 54-52.
"It was a big bounce back win for us," said Golden State coach Mark Jackson. "In the second half, we regrouped, we battled defensively, and we took care of the basketball. We rebounded the basketball. We took guys out of their confidence zone and I thought that was a big difference with our defense in the second half."
NOTES: The Warriors' six straight road wins against New Orleans is their longest winning streak on the road since they won seven in a row at Dallas between 1991-94. ... C Andrew Bogut had a season-high five blocked shots. … The Warriors were one off their season low in turnovers with eight. … The injury-riddled Pelicans lost another starter when F/C Jason Smith suffered right knee cartilage damage that will require surgery. Smith (9.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) joined F Ryan Anderson (19.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, herniated disc) and PG Jrue Holiday (14.3 ppg, 7.9 apg, stress fracture in his tibia). "It's a part of coaching," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "Sometimes it's more extreme than others." ... Pelicans SG Tyreke Evans (12.6 ppg, 4.2 apg) returned from a sprained left ankle and scored 14 points. ... Golden State had lost its previous two games despite averaging 118.5 points. "We've got to get back to defending and competing on the defensive end," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
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