Heading into Game 3, the New Orleans Pelicans were not in an optimal situation. Down 2-0 to the defending champion Golden State Warriors, Anthony Davis and company had their backs against the wall.
Losing Game 3 would have almost guaranteed a series loss.
But, Davis and Rajon Rondo made sure that didn’t happen. Guiding New Orleans to a 119-100 victory in front of their home crowd, Davis went 15-of-27 from the floor for 33 points and added a franchise playoff record 18 rebounds, three assists and four steals in 41 minutes.
Rondo scored just four points on 2-of-11 shooting, but dished out a playoff career-high 21 assists while turning the ball over just four times and also added 10 rebounds.
The other three Pelicans starters also stepped up. Nikola Mirotic recorded a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double while Jrue Holiday dropped 21 points and added seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. E’twaun Moore also added 13 points while Ian Clark went 7-for-11 shooting for 18 points off the bench.
As a whole, New Orleans shot exactly 50.0 percent and knocked down 14-of-31 three-pointers (45.2 percent). They also dished out 36 assists compared to just 15 turnovers. On the other hand, the Warriors surprisingly struggled offensively, shooting 35-of-92 (38.0 percent) overall, including 9-of-31 from deep (29.0 percent). They recorded 22 assists and turned the ball over 12 times. It’s not often that Golden State’s offense was the stale one, but that’s exactly what it was in Game 3.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors in the scoring column, netting 26 points. Kevin Durant (22), Stephen Curry (19) and Draymond Green (11) were all held in check.
Up 62-56 at halftime, the Pelicans got off to a hot start in the third quarter and outscored the Rockets 30-19 in that period in order to extend their lead. Most importantly, they held on with a strong fourth quarter showing, which ensured that the game was well out of reach down the stretch.
Still down 2-1 in the series, the Pelicans will undoubtedly enter Game 4 on their home floor with the momentum on their side. More than anything, a dominant victory proves that New Orleans is a legitimate playoff team and could pose a real threat to the defending champs.
Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday. It will be fascinating to see if New Orleans turns in a repeat performance or if the Warriors will make the necessary adjustments.
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