Warriors slay Pelicans to set up Rockets Conference Finals

The Golden State Warriors have advanced to their fourth straight Western Conference Finals after eliminating the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 5 of their Round 2 Playoff series.

Stephen Curry had 28 points, Kevin Durant scored 24 as the Warriors advanced by dismantling Anthony Davis and the Pelicans 113-104.

Klay Thompson added 23 points for the Warriors, who with a 15th straight home playoff win tied Chicago for an NBA record. The Bulls did so from April 27, 1990, to May 21, 1991.

Davis had 34 points and 19 rebounds for a Pelicans team that overcame the loss of DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending torn Achilles tendon three months ago to make this strong run. The Pelicans shaved the lead to seven points with two minutes left on a basket by Davis before Draymond Green’s turnaround fadeaway moments later.

The Warriors advance to play the top-seeded Houston Rockets in what has long been an anticipated Western Conference finals matchup — with a Finals feel, perhaps — and one Golden State will start on the road Monday night. The teams didn’t meet during the 2017 postseason, but the Warriors won a five-game series in the first round of the 2016 playoffs. Houston eliminated Utah in its Game 5 earlier Tuesday.

Curry, who returned for Game 2 after nearly six weeks out with a knee injury, knocked down an open 3-pointer midway through the third and raised his hands to get the crowd going, then made another less than two minutes later. He converted three free throws at the 6:25 mark following a hard foul by Jrue Holiday.

In the second quarter, Holiday shoved Curry hard into the basket, enraging the two-time MVP who let the officials know how upset he was by the push and no call.

Holiday contributed 27 points and 11 assists, but even with better shooting, New Orleans couldn’t stay with deep, score-at-will Golden State.

The defending champions are serious about a repeat title, and took one step closer to that goal.

So far this postseason, with Durant and Green leading the way, the Warriors have admirably defended the slower San Antonio Spurs and now the imposing, push-the-pace Pelicans.

Green had another superb all-around night on both ends with 19 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

The Warriors came out of halftime with a 10-0 run over the opening 1:54, forcing two Pelicans timeouts and taking control for the rest of the game.

Thompson hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the first to put Golden State up 17-10, the second right in front of his own bench as teammates erupted in celebration. He began 6 for 9 and had 14 points by the 4:10 mark of the first.

Durant became irate when Nikola Mirotic made a late, hard bump on a 3-point try with 5:23 left in the first — a play that was reviewed and Mirotic received just a common foul.

As Durant took free throws, Green tried to listen in on the Pelicans’ huddle before official Josh Tiven pulled him away.

Comments