New Orleans Pelicans kept belief they could beat Golden State Warriors NBA


NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans never doubted that they could do this.

Despite losing the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal to the Golden State Warriors, the Pelicans always believed that better performances were within them. After running over the Warriors in a 119-100 Game 3 victory that confidence will only grow stronger. Anthony Davis had a monster night going off for 33 points and 18 rebounds while Rajon Rondo came through with 21 assists and 10 rebounds of his own, one less assist than the entire Warriors team combined. The Pelicans controlled the tempo throughout the night, never allowing the vaunted Warriors offense to develop any rhythm.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry continued to fuel his team with belief throughout the last few days, reiterating before Friday’s contest that the Pelicans knew they could beat the Warriors at their own game — running and gunning up the floor against Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. The key for Gentry in Game 3 was that his team played with a defensive ferocity that set the tone throughout the night.

The Warriors weren’t getting a lot of clean looks and weren’t able to push the tempo like they usually do. Warriors swingman Klay Thompson bounced back after a 4-for-20 performance in Game 2 for 26 points in Game 3, but Curry was held to 19 points, going just 6-for-19 from the field. Golden State could never find the answers it needed against a hungry New Orleans group that came ready to play. Once Davis got rolling, nothing could stop him.

The Pelicans’ bench gave Gentry another big contribution, outscoring the Warriors reserves 32-20. Pelicans guard Ian Clark led the way for New Orleans lighting up Golden State for 18 points in 21 minutes. Rondo and Draymond Green continued their series long exchange of trash talk, but it was Rondo who earned the last laugh in Game 3 — as a raucous sellout crowd in Smoothie King arena gave the Pelicans several standing ovations throughout the night.

Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.

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