NBA Playoffs

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

SAN ANTONIO -- By eliminating the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, the No. 2 seed Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Semifinal round, where they will face New Orleans, with Game 1 set for Saturday at a time to be determined.

The No. 6 seed Pelicans advanced last Saturday with a four-game sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

Here is a look at recent history as well as matchups -- as best we can determine, considering many will involve cross-matching -- between the Warriors and Pelicans:

POINT GUARD

Andre Iguodala vs. Rajon Rondo: It’s possible but not likely that Stephen Curry will be available for Game 1, which means Warriors coach Steve Kerr should stay with Andre Iguodala, whose defense and intellect were on display against the Spurs. Rondo clearly is the leader of the Pelicans and is playing at a very high level. He averaged 13.3 assists per game against Portland and scored well enough (11.3 ppg, 48.7 percent FG) to keep defenses honest.

EDGE: Even.

SHOOTING GUARD

Klay Thompson vs. Jrue Holiday: This matchup, featuring the best two-way guards in the league, should be highly entertaining. With the exception of Game 4, Thompson was fabulous against the Spurs, averaging 22.6 ppg on 52.9-percent shooting, including 51.6 percent beyond the arc. Holiday also was superb, averaging 27.8 ppg on 56.8-percent shooting while shutting down Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Thompson is four-time All-Star and Holiday, who hasn’t been an All-Star since 2013, is reminding everyone of his considerable skills.

EDGE: Even.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant vs. E’Twaun Moore: Durant is a consensus top-5 player and, at 6-foot-11, presents a matchup headache for any defender. He can also expect to at times match up with Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Durant led the Warriors in scoring against the Spurs (28.2 ppg, 48 percent FG but only 25 percent from deep) and will be target No. 1 for the New Orleans defense. Put another way, Moore, will spend less time on Durant than a couple of his teammates.

EDGE: Significant edge to Durant.

POWER FORWARD

Draymond Green vs. Nikola Mirotic: Another juicy matchup, featuring the splendid defensive gifts of Green against the brilliant shooting of Mirotic. Though Green also will get turns against absurdly good Pelicans center Anthony Davis, he is sure to see plenty of Mirotic, who against Portland averaged 19.3 ppg, shooting 46.2 from deep and 57.1 overall. In either case, Green, who at times single-handedly thwarted San Antonio’s offense, will have to spend more time playing on-ball defense.

EDGE: Slight edge to Green

CENTER

Entire Warriors army vs. Anthony Davis: The matchup description is not much of a stretch. Davis, who is every bit to matchup headache that Durant is. Davis’ 33 ppg in the first round leads all playoff scorers, is going to see no fewer than four different defenders -- Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Durant and Green -- over the course of this series. Anyone who defends the 6-10 star is going to need both skill and luck. On the other end, Davis will patrol the paint in an effort to protect the rim. He leads all playoff performers in blocks (2.8 bpg).

EDGE: Significant edge to Davis

SEASON SERIES

The Warriors and Pelicans met four times, with the Warriors winning three times:

Nov. 20 at New Orleans: Warriors 128, Pelicans 120 Nov. 25 at Oakland: Warriors 110, Pelicans 95 Dec. 4 at New Orleans: Warriors 125, Pelicans 115 April 7 at Oakland: Pelicans 126, Warriors 120

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

OAKLAND -- Draymond Green concedes he doesn’t generally look to score, that he’d rather set up his teammates to provide that for the Warriors.

So he was only mildly annoyed by comments made by TNT analyst Chris Webber during the telecast of Game 5 between the Warriors and Spurs on Tuesday night.

Webber said that if Green were on another team and was expected to score that “he may not be in the starting lineup.”

Naturally, Green was fully loaded for a ready response.

“I don't have a scorer's mentality, especially for the team that I play on,” Green began after a 99-91 victory. “If I did have a scorer's mentality, it would throw all this off and it wouldn't work out.

“You know, there are times in the game where I probably need to score more, but it's hard to turn a scorer's mentality on and off. I've had that once before in my life. You don't just click that on or off. Nonetheless, I do know when I need to be more aggressive and that helps my team out.”

Green was just warming up, saving his best stuff for punctuation.

“But I don't care,” he continued. “I've done some great things in this league. I've been to All-Star (games) twice averaging like 11 points, 10 points or something like that. Look, you know, I don't need to score.

“However, I don't think (Webber) can find many GMs are coaches that wouldn't say I wouldn't start on their team, and you know, my -- I'm fine without scoring the ball. I think I've created a new lane for guys in this league to where you don't have to score 20 points to be an All-Star or be a starter in this league and it is what it is.

“That's fine and my (championship) jewelry fit well. So I'm doing really pretty good. You know, much love to C-Webb, though, from Michigan, State of Michigan, you know, we good.”

There is good reason to believe there is at least a degree of friendly-unfriendly rivalry at work. Webber grew up in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan. Green grew up in Saginaw and, and 15 years later, attended Michigan State University.

For the record, Green averaged 11.4 points, a team-best 11.2 rebounds and a team-best 8.0 assists in the five-game series with San Antonio.

Green has earned two championship rings with the Warriors, who have reached three consecutive NBA Finals with him at power forward.

Webber spent his rookie season (1993-94) with the Warriors, and was named Rookie of the Year. Though the Warriors were swept by Phoenix in the first round that season, he eventually appeared in 80 playoff games -- 53 as a member of the Sacramento Kings -- but never reached the NBA Finals.

Will Warriors sweep Spurs for second straight postseason?

Will Warriors sweep Spurs for second straight postseason?

SAN ANTONIO -- The Warriors will try to complete a four-game sweep here for the second consecutive postseason when they face the Spurs on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Center.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 11:30 a.m., with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn. The game telecast is on ABC.

Though the Warriors have dominated the series thus far, winning all three games by double digits, they expect the Spurs, still reeling from the death of coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, to put up a spirited fight to avoid elimination. Popovich missed Game 3 and also will miss Game 4.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 7

MATCHUP TO WATCH

JaVale McGee & Co. vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge is San Antonio’s horse and he must have a stellar game to give his team any chance of winning. The Spurs have tried several tricks to get him going, with success only in Game 2, when Aldridge scored 34 points. The Warriors will start McGee, who will alternate with their platoon of big men in trying to contain Aldridge.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Shaun Livinston (L ankle sprain) is listed as probable. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is listed as out.

SERIES TO DATE

Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 92 Game 2: Warriors 116, Spurs 101 Game 3: Warriors 110, Spurs 97

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Tony Brothers, Brian Forte, Dedric Taylor (alternate)

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four in the regular season, 112-92 on Nov. 2 at San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 in Oakland before losing 89-75 on March 19 in San Antonio. The Warriors swept the Spurs in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are 14-6 (including postseason) against San Antonio in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SPURS ENGAGEMENT LEVEL: As if the loss of Erin Popovich was not enough to weigh down their hearts, the Spurs also are staring at the kind of deficit no team has overcome. How far can pride carry an overmatched team? Do they have the grit to summon their best under such adverse conditions?

WARRIORS IN THE MOMENT: Being so dominating in the first three games and already aware that their second-round opponent will be New Orleans, the Warriors will have to fight off overconfidence. Can they stay focused for 48 minutes against a team they’ve beaten seven consecutive times in the postseason?

THE ARC: Through three games, the Warriors have been riding their defense and letting the offense come as a result. The Spurs lack a naturally potent offense and further diminished by their inability to make 3-pointers. The Warriors have held them to 24.1-percent shooting from deep. It’s tough to win like that.