The Golden State Warriors managed to get the game into overtime in Game 3 of the Western Conference first round against the New Orleans Pelicans. What's the best bet for Saturday?
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They were able to win Game 3 despite getting outplayed for the vast majority of the game. After an early burst, Golden State was picked apart by New Orleans, which scored 89 points in roughly 35 minutes of game time (three quarters, basically) to build a 103-88 advantage with five minutes left in the game. The Warriors were sluggish for most of Game 3. They did not get to the basket and settled for a lot of quick and deep shots early in the shot clock. They didn’t get much of anything from Harrison Barnes or Andre Iguodala, the players who will have to be better for Golden State to beat better teams in the playoffs. Golden State finished 34 percent from three-point range, and only 40 percent from the field. The Warriors had eight of their shots blocked by New Orleans and allowed the Pelicans to shoot 51.7 percent from the field. Given all these statistics, you’d have thought New Orleans would have run away for an easy victory, and to be fair, the Pelicans were up big in the fourth quarter. They were in a comfortable position until the last seconds of the fourth quarter. That Golden State could fight long enough to give itself a chance and then succeed in stealing this game says a lot about the Warriors’ resilience.
It also says a lot about the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The two men combined for 68 points in Game 3. Curry scored 40 points, Thompson 28. Shaun Livingston provided a spark off the bench with 12 points. Draymond Green was not great on defense in this game, but he grabbed seven offensive rebounds, which is part of why the Warriors were able to make their late comeback, gaining numerous extra possession.
The final reason Golden State can win is that New Orleans – a young team in its first playoffs for many of the guys on the roster – will be thoroughly depressed, deflated and dispirited. The Pelicans can’t believe they lost this game. Golden State should go in for the kill.
The New Orleans Pelicans Can Win Because…
They are the same team that was able to take an 89-69 lead after three quarters, and a 103-88 lead with five minutes left in the game. The Pelicans created the negative Golden State stats (34 percent from three, 40 percent shooting overall) that were mentioned above. They also shot the ball well themselves, very nearly 52 percent. They got 26 points from Ryan Anderson off the bench, and their reserves outscored Golden State’s bench, 58-26. If the Pelicans can get 26 more from Anderson and 16 from another reserve, Norris Cole, they’ll be in very good shape.
Keep in mind when making your NBA pick that the Pelicans got smacked around in Game 3 but they should still have a pulse in Game 4. They’ve been in each contest so far and they aren’t going to lay down here. Look for them to cover the NBA odds and do their best to force a Game 5.
NBA Pick: Pelicans +7 at BookMaker