After winning Game 3 on Friday, Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry said Game 4 would be the toughest they've played yet, and he couldn't have been more correct. The Warriors rolled out their most potent lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, all starting together for the first time, and buried the Pelicans out of the gate with a 17-4 run.
"We just never got into any kind of groove," says Gentry. "Part of it was us. Part of it was I thought they were locked in defensively."
"They came out on fire," says Anthony Davis. "Throughout the entire game, shots they missed in Game 3, they made tonight. We had a lot of open looks, and we missed them. I think we shot 17 or 16 percent from three and high 30's for the game. We just can't afford to shoot the ball that poorly."
Against a team like Golden State that loves to push the ball in transition, that's exactly what it comes down to. If you're not able to take some of their pace away by scoring and making them take the ball in from under the basket, the game will often get out of hand in a hurry.
"We knew that if we go out and get stops, it'll get our offense going, and what that will do is allow us to continue to set our defense," says Green. "That was key for us building that lead to start the game, and we were able to hold onto it throughout."
For all but a few minutes late in the second quarter when the Pelicans were able to draw within single digits, the Warriors were in control. A lot of that had to do with Kevin Durant, who was often unstoppable and finished the game with 38 points on 15-of-27 shooting.
"He's an MVP and an MVP of the Finals," says Gentry. "I think that kind of speaks for itself."
"I'm just my best when I'm free and having fun out there and forceful," says Durant. "I think that was the thing, just trying to play with force no matter if I miss shots or not. Just keep shooting, keep being aggressive. I just tried to continue to tell myself that over the last day and a half and was able to go out there and knock down some shots."
Despite being down just seven at halftime, the Pelicans couldn't capitalize. A 10-2 Warriors run to start the third quarter put New Orleans back in a double-digit hole, and they were never close to recovering.
"You're not going to beat them if you can't score 115 points," says Gentry. "I don't care how good your defense is. I don't care what you do. You have to be able to score 110 to 115 points to have any chance to beat them."
And now down 3-1 with their backs against the wall, they'll be tasked with having to do it back at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
"We're still in it," says Jrue Holiday. "We're a team that fights through everything. We've gone through so much this year. We've never given up, and we don't plan on it now."
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