Of the many stories that have developed during this year’s NBA Playoffs, perhaps the most shocking was the opening-round sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The sixth-seeded Pelicans made easy work of the third-seeded Blazers, despite the fact that Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic posed a formidable threat.
Now comes the major test.
Up next is Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, (maybe) Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Although they’re the second seed in the West, they’re the defending champions and are still the team to beat.
Therefore, Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic and company have their work cut out for them.
But, Davis has no plans of backing down and is optimistic.
"We know that we can beat them. We've done it in the regular season,” he told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “And we've been in every game that we lost [against them], so we know that we're a good matchup against these guys and we've got a lot of confidence in ourself. Anytime they score, we know they're going to score and make shots, it's tough, we just got to get the ball out fast and push it down the floor and try to [go] quicker.”
It’s important to note that the Pelicans went 1-3 against the Warriors in the regular season. But, Davis is still confident and therefore gave Golden State some bulletin board material.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry sees the big picture and is just happy to be in the second round.
"I tell the guys all the time they should embrace this opportunity to compete against this team," Gentry said. "Because what they've done the last four years has been phenomenal, really. An opportunity to win two championships and lose another that everyone thought that they may have an opportunity to win. It gives you a great gauge as to where your franchise is, and where your team is, and where you need to get to really.”
"It's an opportunity to beat the world champs," he continued. "These guys are the defending champs, and to come in and try to beat them in a seven-game series is going to be fun, and that's all we're thinking about. Think about Game 1, win Game 1, and go from there. But it's a great opportunity for everybody to add to their resume, to try to go out here and beat the world champs."
The Pelicans are obviously considered massive underdogs in the series. But, given their dominance in the first round, they’re playing freely and are extremely dangerous at the moment. Therefore, the Warriors shouldn’t take them lightly, especially if Curry is held out until he's fully healthy.
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