The Golden State Warriors began last season with a loss and still managed to cruise to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and a second NBA title in three years, and they are hoping that trend continues. The Warriors will try to avoid rare back-to-back losses when they begin their first road trip of 2017-18 by visiting the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
Golden State shot 53.8 percent from the field, 16-of-30 from 3-point range and handed out 34 assists on 43 field goals but still fell 122-121 to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday after squandering a lead as large as 17 points. “I just thought we looked tired,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “I don’t think we are in good enough shape yet to play a 48-minute game against a great team.” The Pelicans are coming off an opening loss as well despite big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both recording double-doubles, and coach Alvin Gentry is already thinking about some changes. “I think we need to tweak the system some, obviously, but I just thought that we played a little bit too much in isolation,” Gentry told reporters after the 103-91 loss at Memphis. “...If you’re going to play isolation basketball, they load up and they take away all the driving lanes, so we have to do that by keeping our spacing on the floor and making basket cuts and then relocating on the floor.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), FS New Orleans
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (0-1): Reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green collected nine points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds on Tuesday but left before the start of the fourth quarter with a knee strain. Green underwent an MRI on Wednesday that came back clean, but he is not expected to play on Friday. “He was our best player tonight,” Kerr told reporters of Green after Tuesday’s loss. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life. We didn’t have much energy from most of our group tonight. ... When you are lacking conditioning, like we are right now, you have to have high-energy guys out there. As soon as he went out of the game, things went south for us. We just couldn’t get any traction.”
ABOUT THE PELICANS (0-1): Davis collected 33 points and 18 rebounds on Wednesday while Cousins contributed 28 points, 10 boards and seven blocks, but New Orleans managed only 57 points in the final three quarters after coming out strong with 34 in the first. “I thought we started the first quarter playing the way we should,” Gentry told reporters. “I thought we had good ball movement. We got good shots. From there on out I thought that our ball movement wasn’t very good. We had eight assists in the first quarter, then we had seven the rest of the way.” The Pelicans are missing their best ball mover in point guard Rajon Rondo, who is not expected back until late next month after undergoing hernia surgery.
1. Warriors F Andre Iguodala (back) sat out the opener but is expected to play on Friday.
2. New Orleans C Alexis Ajinca (knee) is questionable for Friday after missing the opener.
3. Golden State took the last 11 meetings in the series, including a first-round sweep in the 2015 playoffs.
PREDICTION: Warriors 119, Pelicans 102