Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#509 Golden State Warriors vs.
#510 New Orleans Pelicans
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 8:05pm EDT
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
Written by Jordy

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The New Orleans Pelicans hope to bounce back from a 41-point Steph Curry performance on the back half of their doubleheader with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. There was plenty of shaking and baking on Monday night as Curry lit up the Pelicans’ struggling defense. Zion Williamson’s 32-point showing wasn’t nearly enough to save New Orleans from a 123-108 collapse. We’ll see if the Pelicans learned a thing or two in the rematch.

Curry dishes out some hurt to New Orleans

Steph Curry resumed his role as a one-man circus on the floor against the Pelicans on Monday night. It’s getting to the point where people are starting to take these performances for granted. There isn’t anything normal about what Curry is doing right now.

Just ask the Pelicans after they became another in a long line of victims caught in Curry’s path of destruction.

The defense for New Orleans has been absolutely atrocious. So there’s no reason to think Curry would take his foot off the gas in Tuesday’s rematch. There will be plenty of opportunities for him to pad on to an already MVP-caliber season where he’s averaging 31.4 points per game.

However, the defensive end of the floor is where the Warriors truly shined in the game. They shut down the perimeter shooting from the Pelicans and cut off the help for Zion Williamson. The Pelicans are a one-dimensional team, and they clearly can’t survive unless they’re piling on the points.

If the Warriors continue to stand their ground defensively, there will be no stopping them from dominating in the head-to-head meetings.

Where was the help for Zion?

The Pelicans would love to forget about Monday’s loss to the Warriors, but it’s impossible with the two teams slated to meet for a second consecutive night on Tuesday.

It was no surprise to see Steph Curry cook a Pelicans defense that ranks among the worst in the league. The real surprise was the lack of a response from New Orleans on the offensive end of the floor. Zion Williamson finished the game with a team-high 32 points, but he was the only one that made a dent in the Warriors’ defense.

Brandon Ingram dropped the quietest 19 points you’ll ever hear on the court, and Lonzo Ball crashed and burned at the 3-point line by going 1-for-9 for only seven points.

None of those scenarios can happen if the Pelicans have any hope of striking even in the rematch. They can’t be bad both on offense and defense and still win games. This is the sort of pressure they put on themselves for having the 27th-ranked defense in the league. They have to blow up the scoreboard on a nightly basis just to even have a shot at winning. It’s a tough way to live in a Western Conference with so many talented two-way teams.

It’s an even tougher way to live when the greatest pure shooter in NBA history, Steph Curry, is on the other side.

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The Pelicans aren’t going to suddenly get better defensively overnight.

Their lackluster defensive showing against the Warriors stayed true to what the team has looked like all season. They are clearly capable of going on an offensive splash from time to time, but they can’t stop running water on defense.

It’s just too easy for a player like Curry, who can ninja his way to any spot on the floor with his otherworldly handles. He’s going to consistently create shots for himself and his teammates, and there isn’t much the Pelicans can do about it.

It doesn’t help matters that New Orleans is the fourth-worst team in the league at defending the 3-pointer. That’s a big no-no when Curry is basically automatic from beyond the arc. Even without Eric Paschall and Kelly Oubre Jr., the defensive flaws are too obvious to save the Pelicans from a second straight loss.

I’m taking the points and the Warriors in the rematch.

Prediction: Golden State Warriors (+1.5)

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The Warriors don’t get enough credit for their defensive effort this season. They did a tremendous job of sealing off the perimeter and at least contesting shots against the Pelicans on Monday night. However, I do believe New Orleans will show more of an offensive fight in the rematch. Zion Williamson is big time, and Lonzo Ball is clearly capable of playing better than he did in the first game. The Pelicans are still one of the league’s more explosive offensive teams with an average 115.9 points at home this season. They’ll give the Warriors the firefight we’ve all been waiting to see on Tuesday. Give me the over in this one.

Prediction: Over (234.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.