The New Orleans Pelicans finally advanced to the 2nd round of playoffs headed by prolific big man Anthony Davis with the help of resurgent guards Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo.
The Pelicans faced off against the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors (GSW) and unfortunately their top players underperformed in Game 1 which the Warriors won 123-101.
The Pelicans will play the Warriors in Game 2 on Tuesday 9:30 pm CT and know that they must win as a 2-0 lead will make it very difficult for them to recover. The Pelicans also know that it is not easy to win at the Oracle Arena in front of boisterous GSW fans.
A winning strategy for the Pelicans will depend on certain key factors. First and foremost, the guards must put the ball on Davis’ hands more. Anthony Davis must force his way to the basket again right from the start to open up the court for Holiday and Rondo. His game 1 mentality started right by producing 8 quick points in first seven minutes of the quarter but he got checked the rest of the game finishing with only 21 points.
Coach Gentry needs to trust Davis and put the ball in the middle more often to possibly put GSW’s big men in foul trouble. The others need to make their mid-range and long range shots when Davis kicks out the ball to them.
As a team, the Pelicans should avoid turning the game into a shooting contest as GSW will dominate the shootfest. The rest of the team need to close out on 3-point shooters and switch on all pick and rolls. Coach Alvin Gentry will need to keep the guards rotation short.
Finally, the Pelicans must check Draymond Green. Green’s energy is the team’s barometer. Even with Stephen Curry possibly coming back on Game 2, it is Green who is facilitating the GSW offense and igniting the crowd’s frenzy.
Coach Alvin Gentry should be strict and ensure that his players avoid early foul trouble, shoot the ball without hesitation especially the 3’s and clog the passing lanes.
GSW Strategy Will Most Likely Stay The Same
GSW completely dominated the Pelicans in the NBA Playoffs Game 1 and it will be surprising if they tinker with their winning strategy too much. Their biggest threat is Anthony Davis and they only need to gang up on him to make matters worse for the Pelicans.
They should expect more alley-oops and offensive rebounds from Davis and then check him under the basket with 2 or 3 of their players. It would be better if they can prevent Anthony Davis from receiving the ball on the high post.