Warriors - Pelicans Game Three Preview

CAN FIRED UP PELICANS AVOID A SWEEP? GAME THREE OFFERS BEST CHANCE TO KNOCK OFF WARRIORS

The New Orleans Pelicans have certainly been very impressive for a team that's down 0-2 in an NBA Playoff series! The young upstarts covered both games on the road against #1 seed Golden State. They rallied from WAY behind in the series opener to make things very interesting too. Plus, their regular season finale was a win over San Antonio that few thought they'd pull off.

Bottom line...the Anthony Davis and company have been playing at a very high level for awhile. Heck, they might have made the finals in the East! Instead, they're looking at getting swept out of the brackets by a juggernaut.

We've already studied JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats for this series back when we previewed Game One. No reason to go through those again. Hopefully, you remember that the slow pace New Orleans plays has created some illusions about the team. They're better on offense than most realize, but worse on defense than their reputation. Golden State is great at everything!

Let's look at the important numbers in the two Golden State victories thus far...

GAME ONE STATS
Golden State 106, New Orleans 99
Shooting Pct: New Orleans 42%, Golden State 46%
Three-Pointers: New Orleans 9/22, Golden State 11/29
Free Throws: New Orleans 20/25, Golden State 21/34
Rebounds: New Orleans 44, Golden State 47
Turnovers: New Orleans 14, Golden State 15
Vegas Line: Golden State by 12.5, total of 205

You'll recall that Golden State jumped out to a 28-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. They would build that lead much higher through the afternoon before almost blowing the whole thing! You can see issues for the Warriors in the turnover department, and just a general overall impression of not playing up to their juggernaut status. They were good enough at everything...but nothing blows you away. Once New Orleans got its bearings...this became a very entertaining game.

GAME TWO STATS
Golden State 97, New Orleans 87
Shooting Pct: New Orleans 38%, Golden State 44%
Three-Pointers: New Orleans 7/20, Golden State 9/30
Free Throws: New Orleans 18/24, Golden State 12/19
Rebounds: New Orleans 42, Golden State 49
Turnovers: New Orleans 13, Golden State 13
Vegas Line: Golden State by 13, 206.5

And, those bearings continued right up to a fourth quarter fade here. The "middle six" quarter have gone to the Pelicans to a frankly SHOCKING degree. Golden State's relatively generic offensive play has been enough to get the job done because of their great defense. Too many forget that Golden State had the best defense in the NBA on a per-possession basis. As playoff basketball slows down, the impact becomes more clear on the scoreboard. The Pelicans have only shot 42% and 38% thus far. Interesting here that Golden State had trouble getting to the free throw line. Worth remembering down the road vs. other dangerous opponents.

Clearly, Golden State is the better team. But, just as clearly, New Orleans isn't afraid of them, and will be fired up and ready to try and win a home game after a two-day rest break. This is the IDEAL spot for the Pelicans because it's a must-win game for them vs. a team that may lose some intensity up 2-0...and because the crowd is going to go crazy if the Pellies compete for the full 48 minutes (as happened in the upset of San Antonio).

Thursday's Vegas Line: Golden State by 5, total of 203

The market is has dropped from lines around 12 in the Bay Area to five here...which is fairly standard for a site switch in the Western Conference (that would suggest home court is worth about 3.5 points in this series...with GS projecting to -8.5 on a neutral court). Zig Zag players and home dog lovers will be all over New Orleans. But, the price isn't going to matter if the Warriors find that juggernaut form!

JIM HURLEY will make sure his clients get the very best from Thursday's tripleheader. You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card (also looking at Cleveland/Boston, Chicago/Milwaukee, and a nice day-night slate of Major League Baseball). If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours Thursday. Try to call EARLY if you're interested in the baseball!

Our daily NBA Playoff previews continue Friday. Here's what's on tap for the next seven days...

Friday: Toronto at Washington (series discussion and a review of Games One and Two)
Saturday: Atlanta at Brooklyn (series discussion and a review of Games One and Two)
Sunday: Cleveland at Boston Game Four Preview
Monday: Either Game Four of Memphis/Portland or Game Five of Milwaukee/Chicago
Tuesday: Probably Game Five of the San Antonio/LA Clippers series
Wednesday: Probably Game Five of the Washington/Toronto series
Thursday: Game Six Preview of the best remaining matchup

Who would have thought series favorite Toronto would be down 2-0 in their series with Washington?! We'll crunch those numbers the next time we're together. Things are moving along very briskly in the first round. Be sure you're riding a wave to riches with WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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