Warriors end Pelicans' season with dominant third-quarter outburst

Warriors end Pelicans' season with dominant third-quarter outburst

OAKLAND -- For one team, the Western Conference semifinals were a big-time measuring stick. For another, it was nothing more than a pit stop on a path to something much larger.

The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to build something. Their first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers is a starting point and the subsequent experience they picked up in round two is extremely valuable.

Their opponent has been to the top of the mountain, earning rings in two of the last three seasons. The Golden State Warriors aren’t playing for experience points, they are looking to cement their legacy as an NBA dynasty.

New Orleans came into Game 5 trailing 3-1 in the series. They had impressed with their grit and ability to make Golden State work on both ends of the court. They were hanging close to the high-powered Warriors through the intermission, but it’s tough to keep the World Champs under wraps for a full 48 minutes.

The Warriors stumbled to end the first half, giving away a 10-point lead in the final four minutes. Golden State bounced back to take a 59-56 halftime lead, which gave coach Steve Kerr the talking points he needed.

“The main message at halftime was, we’re doing great, we just had a couple of errors and you have to remind guys that, you know, the ball is everything,” Steve Kerr said. “A couple of turnovers can change the entire tone of a game.”

Golden State responded to the message and dropped the hammer on New Orleans coming out of the break. In the blink of an eye, the game and series were over.

“We had some bad possessions and then we missed some shots, and so all of the sudden, it’s 10-0 and you know how that goes,” Alvin Gentry said following the loss.

Fueled by the hot shooting of Stephen Curry, the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 36-19 in the third to take a commanding 20-point lead heading into the final frame.

Still working his way back into game shape after a missing more than five weeks of action, Curry dropped in 13 of his team-high 28 points in the quarter.

“Steph is starting to, I think, get his wind back and his legs back and they are just going to become better,” Gentry added.

Draymond Green shook off a slow start to post nine points in the quarter and Kevin Durant added eight of his 24 in a wild 12 minutes of up and down basketball.

“We generated good shots early and they didn’t go in, and we were very confident that if we continue to get those looks, they will go in at the right time and that’s what happened in the third,” Durant said.

Golden State let off the gas in the fourth quarter, allowing New Orleans to climb within striking distance. But in the end, the advantage coming out of quarter No. 3 was way too much to overcome.

With the win, the Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Finals for a fourth straight season. They’ll face a Houston Rockets team that finished off an injury-riddled Utah Jazz team earlier Wednesday evening.

For KD, the opening of the Durant Center is 'truly a dream come true'

Kevin Durant Charity Foundation

For KD, the opening of the Durant Center is 'truly a dream come true'

Kevin Durant was not present at Warriors practice Wednesday night in Washington.

Don't worry. He had a great excuse.

Durant wasn't practicing because he had somewhere to be: the official opening of College Track at the Durant Center, a new facility in his hometown of Prince George's County, Maryland, aimed at helping low-income and underserved students enroll and graduate from college.

The new state-of-the-art facility will offer students the academic, financial, and social-emotional resources to embolden their college and career goals. It's opening comes a year after Durant announced a personal 10-year, $10 million commitment to Prince George's County.

"When my foundation partnered with College Track last year, we said from day one we wanted it to live inside a facility we could develop for Prince George’s County,” Durant said. “The opening of the Durant Center is truly a dream come true for me and my family.”

[RELATED: A Hall of Famer thinks Durant leaving would be great for NBA]

Community outreach has been a priority for Durant throughout his NBA career, but even more so in recent years. Last June, he was awarded the 2017-18 Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award after pledging more than $13 million to numerous organizations with a dedicated emphasis on education.

The grand opening coincided with Golden State's trip to the nation's capital, as the Warriors put their eight-game winning streak on the line against the Wizards on Thursday.

Jonas Jerebko to miss rest of Warriors' road trip due to birth of child


Jonas Jerebko to miss rest of Warriors' road trip due to birth of child

You won't see forward Jonas Jerebko in the Warriors' next three games.

But it's not related to anything on the court. Jerebko has left the team so he can fly home to be with his wife Johanna, who is expecting their second child.

The Warriors are scheduled to play the Wizards on Thursday in Washington, the Celtics on Saturday in Boston and the Pacers on Monday in Indiana.

After that, they return home to face the 76ers and Lakers.

The 31-year-old Jerebko has had an up-and-down first season with the Warriors. For a long stretch, he was one of the first players off the bench and a key contributor. But recently, he's found himself out of the rotation.

In 47 games, he's averaging 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds.

Good luck to Jonas and Johanna. We can't wait to see the newest member of the Jerebko family.