The Warriors appeared to have very little trouble with the Pelicans in a Game 1 win.
But Golden State faced one major issue against New Orleans after beating the Spurs in the first round.
“Man, it was tiring,” Klay Thompson said after scoring a game-high 27 points in a 123-101 win. “The Spurs, they are a little older, so they play a little more methodical. They try to beat us up in the half court and low block. This team is kind of like playing ourselves. It’s like, you make a bucket, you can’t relax. You have to sprint back, find a shooter and they are pushing the tempo. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
Draymond Green, via Haynes:
“Klay looked at me on the bench and said, ‘Man, Draymond, I got more tired tonight than I did in any game against the Spurs,’” Green said with a laugh. “That kind of sums it up. It’s a completely different tempo. They are really pushing the ball, like he said, and nonetheless, as long as we are getting back into transition and not giving up easy stuff, I think that plays into our hands.”
The Pelicans played at the NBA’s fastest pace during the regular season, the Spurs one of the slowest. San Antonio did a good job dictating tempo in the first-round series (easier with Stephen Curry out). The Warriors had far more possessions in Game 1 against New Orleans than any game against the Spurs.
Golden State can play well at multiple speeds. The Pelicans have only one gear, and – once Curry returns – it might be the one the Warriors are best at.
That doesn’t bode well for New Orleans once Thompson and crew get their legs under them.
It should also prepare the Warriors for the Rockets, who are slower than the typical Mike D’Antoni team but still crank up the pace at times.