By Huey Bergstrom
(NEW ORLEANS) The Warriors got a huge road win Monday night against the Pelicans. A win on the road late in the season against a rival is always huge but this one even more so considering the Pelicans are the only team that could, hypothetically, oust the Warriors from the play-in postseason spot.
After the rough game against the Timberwolves last week, this served as a rebound in every sense. The Dubs jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the first and, despite some close moments throughout, never let their foot off the gas. The full speed ahead was, as it often has been this season, due to the outstanding play of Steph Curry who put up 17 points of his own in the first quarter, giving Golden State a 39-21 advantage after one.
Curry was cooking Monday night. He finished with 41 points, 8 assists and shot 14-for-26 from the field, and 8-for-18 from distance. That was his ninth game with 40 or more points this season.
He had all facets of his game working, but, as this season has shown, he can't do it on his own. Draymond Green stepped up in a big way.
Green was able to move Pelicans star Zion Williamson away from his spots while making crisp passes on offense. He played some of the best basketball of the season and it couldn't have come at a better time. Green being in playoff form will be crucial to any potential Warriors run. He finished Monday night with an astounding statline of 10 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. That was Green's fifth triple double this season.
Another good sign came from Andrew Wiggins, who put up 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting. He has played tremendously while Kelly Oubre Jr. has been out and will need to keep up the intensity on both ends of the floor.
This was a big game for the Warriors who were sitting on the edge of NBA obscurity if they didn't put together a few wins. They're still in the ninth seed which puts them at least in a viable position for the play-in game. From there, it will require some of that Golden State magic to get any farther. But, who in the right mind would bet against Steph Curry this season? A long-winded way of saying, there is a lot to be decided in the next fifteen or so games but why would you ever count out Curry?
If, and yes it is still an if, the Warriors make it to the postseason, they'll have a tough time advancing with all the injuries their first and second unit has susatined this season, but crazier runs have happened in the NBA. The good signs are there and indicate that this team, despite injuries, has the talent to make a run. If Oubre Jr. comes back in time for the play-in game, he and Wiggins offer a level of spacing that will be crucial to any extended Warriors postseason.
Additionally, Golden State's second and first units have to do a better job of defending without fouling. That's been the thorn in the side of their defense all season and in a gritty playoff battle, a team like the Jazz or Suns will take advantage of that weak spot.