Sportress of Blogitude

Klay Thompson on the Pelicans’ pace of play: ‘Man, it was tiring’

Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans squared off in Game 1 of the teams’ Western Conference semifinals match-up. The Warriors controlled the game all the way through, winning 123-101. Despite the Warriors winning the game handily, the Pelicans kept the pressure on the defending champions — and will continue to do so the entire series.

“Man, it was tiring,” Klay Thompson said, via ESPN. “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 ball game.”

The Warriors have had one of the best runs in NBA history these last four years. Since they are the royalty of the NBA, they will always have a large target on their backs. The pressure was on from the Pelicans, but the Warriors had a balanced attack with 36 bench points along with a triple-double from Draymond Green.

The Pelicans are coached by Alvin Gentry, a former Warriors assistant. Gentry knows first-hand that you cannot let up against the Warriors. Teams that are in attack mode the entire contest will contend, like the 2016 Cavaliers. After the blowout loss, Gentry and the Pelicans will not be taking their foot off the gas.

“We’re still going to play with a fast pace, and we are going to do a better job of spacing the floor,” Gentry said. “We’re going to be better defensively from the standpoint of not having breakdowns.

“We’re not going to go back and change everything that we did. We’re not going to all of a sudden walk the ball up the court now and try to play slow. You know, what we’ve got to do is, we’ve got to get AD [Anthony Davis] more involved in the game from the standpoint of even the double-teams, we’ve got to get him out on the floor and get space, and we’ve got to do a better job of shot selection. Then we’ve got to do a better job defensively.”

Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo combined to shoot 17-for-44 (39%) in Game 1, which is uncharacteristic. In order to have a legitimate chance to oust Golden State, their stars must play A+ basketball on both ends of the floor.