Kevin Durant’s sprained left ankle will likely keep him out of the lineup for the third time in four games when the Golden State Warriors host the rising New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. Durant was termed doubtful by coach Steve Kerr after sitting out Friday, while fellow forward Draymond Green (rest) was also out of the lineup as the Warriors steamrolled the Chicago Bulls 143-94.
“We shouldn’t have played him Wednesday (against Oklahoma City),” Kerr said after Friday’s game in regard to Durant. “I thought he was fine. We thought he was fine but then he got a little sore afterward. I’m sure the league is happy with us since we played him in their marquee game with (Russell Westbrook).” Golden State has won eight straight games against the Pelicans and 18 of the last 19 meetings, and warmed up for the contest with its largest winning margin (49 points) of the season. New Orleans has won three consecutive games behind the star big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and its 11-8 record represents its best 19-game start since a 13-6 mark in 2010-11 in Chris Paul’s final season with the franchise. The Pelicans built a 30-point halftime lead en route to hammering the Phoenix Suns 115-91 on Friday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN New Orleans, NBCSN Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE PELICANS (11-8): Davis and Cousins each scored 35 points and combined for 29 rebounds (Davis had 15) in a 128-120 home loss to the Warriors on Oct. 20 - a game New Orleans led by 13 after a 39-point opening quarter. The Pelicans scored at will in Friday’s victory over the Suns with Davis leading the way with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Cousins contributing 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. “We are just playing for each other, trusting each other and whoever is open gets the ball,” Davis said afterward. “We passed up good shots for great shots and trust our teammate to make the right play. We don’t care who scores as long as the ball goes in the basket.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (14-5): Point guard Stephen Curry scored 26 of his 33 points in the second quarter against Chicago and shooting guard Klay Thompson added 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting. Meanwhile, Kerr had to do some heavy persuasion but has gotten Green to accept there will be times when he will be held out for rest. “It’s something I’m going to do periodically during the year. Last year during the (NBA) Finals I thought there were games where Draymond, we were almost piecing him together,” Kerr said. “Because of how hard he plays and because the nature of his game we just need to give him a rest once in a while. I planned this one a week ago.”
1. The Pelicans have dropped their last nine visits to Oakland.
2. Little-used rookie PF Jordan Bell made his first NBA start in place of Green and had six blocked shots to go with seven points and six rebounds.
3. New Orleans backup C Omer Asik (six points in 11 minutes) played Friday for the first time since contracting a bacterial infection in Mexico during February’s All-Star break.
PREDICTION: Warriors 123, Pelicans 117