Three takeaways from Warriors' wire-to-wire Game 4 win over Pelicans

Rosalie Gross
May 9, 2018

Cleveland, which has a chance to win its way back into the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth consecutive year on Monday night if it can finish off a sweep of Toronto, nearly didn't even get to this round.

During the 2017-18 regular season, the Warriors ranked fifth in pace, averaging 101.9 possessions per 48 minutes, so an up-tempo game was going to take the defending champs out of their comfort zone. Sometimes Kerr's hands are tied based on the matchups.

Not only does Kerr like the "Hamptons 5" nickname, but he's also a fan of how they play. "There was absolutely a part of me that thought, 'I don't know if we can get our defense together.' I knew we'd get our offense together, but defense requires a mentality and a spirit and a unity and a sense of objective from the five guys on the floor, and we were just a shell of ourselves that last week". Whether it's as [the] starting group or extra minutes, and obviously the lineup worked or whatever, but it's not about the lineup. As it turned out, Golden State really didn't need him as it stretched a 35-34 first-quarter lead to 76-55 by halftime. "You'd have to talk to him a little bit (but) I'm sure it's on his mind".

It didn't require much in the way of pep talks or reminders of what he needed from his stars.

Iguodala is a master of things like preemptive defensive positioning, pace setting, and energy control - he's a coach on the floor whose presence is particularly necessary when the Warriors play Green at center.

And that's the secret, Kerr said. "They already know. They're superstars". But my job as a coach is to try to help them strategically, so I talked to both of them about how I thought they could attack and get better shots. It was the most he scored in a game since a 30-point effort in a 123-95 home win over the Grizzlies on April 4. "We have to play better on (Golden State's) homecourt (compared to Game 1 and 2)".

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Typically when it comes to conversation about the Death Lineup, most of the focus lies on Draymond Green.

Kerr didn't want to acknowledge the nickname. "You're not going to beat them if you can't score 115 points", Gentry said. The Warriors' defense forced the Pelicans to make tough shots and commit multiple turnovers. "I had to tell him", Green said, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes. "I don't think you can look at it (as an impossible task), because when you look at it that way against the world champs it is an nearly impossible task".

The same mentality will be required Tuesday night.

Since signing All-Star forward Kevin Durant last offseason, the Warriors have been a juggernaut in the postseason and the Pelicans' Game 3 win over them was only the third time they've lost in the playoffs since his arrival. Durant overcame slow start and wound up with 29 points. Because they know what's on the horizon.

New Orleans has the ability to pound the ball in the paint, which was a critical part of them winning Game 3 of the series. Guys have been there before.

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