Curry aces return, Warriors receive mixed marks in Game 2
Game 2 Grades
OAKLAND -- As they prepared to meet New Orleans the Western Conference semifinals, we identified 5 Keys for the Warriors to win in six games or fewer. After each game, we assess how they grade out on those factors.
Here are the grades for Game 2, a 121-116 victory Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
THE CURRY EFFECT
Stephen Curry, surprisingly, was not in the starting lineup. But when he entered, with 4:20 left in the first quarter and to a thunderous standing ovation, he made an immediate positive impact. With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both struggling with their shots early, Curry’s 25 points through the first three quarters were essential to victory. He finished with 28 points in 27 minutes and his plus-26 was the best on the team by a wide margin.
To put it bluntly, there was considerable slippage in this area. After limiting New Orleans to 11 fast-break points in Game 1, the Warriors were worked for a whopping 39 points in Game 2. Those easy buckets were key to the Pelicans staying in the game, as they shot 64 percent (16-of-25) under those conditions. The Warriors, players and coaches, acknowledged that they weren’t nearly as sharp in this category. They know they’ll need to be better in Game 3.
Jrue Holiday recovered from a poor Game 1 and he did it with aggression. He scored 24 points (11-of-24 shooting from the field), along with eight rebounds and eight assists. He played a solid game, while Klay Thompson will gladly take the win but quickly forget his personal performance. He had by far his worst night this postseason, scoring 10 points on 4-of-20 shooting (2-of-11 from deep). Thompson’s offensive struggles may have seeped into his defense, as he had several glaring lapses.
Once again, they didn’t square off very often. But that’s not the point. At issue is one man’s production against the other, and Durant’s late surge wiped out the advantage Davis had through three quarters. Durant was an anemic 6-of-17 from the floor until the fourth quarter, when he made 5-of-6 from the field, including a devastating 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 10-point lead with 3:12 to play. He stayed with it, found his rhythm and basically closed out the victory.
THE RONDO FACTOR
The goal when facing Rajon Rondo is to prevent him from dictating pace for his team and creating efficiency for his teammates. He actually put up solid numbers -- 22 points (8-of-15 from the field, 3-of-4 from deep, 3-of-3 from the line), 12 assists, seven rebounds and five steals. However... he also had seven turnovers. The Warriors made him uncomfortable enough to make a bunch of mistakes that, in the end, hurt the Pelicans.