NEW ORLEANS – The Golden State Warriors knew they did not deliver their best performance in Game 3 against the New Orleans Pelicans. They were determined to fix that just 36 hours later.
And fix it they did.
Kevin Durant bounced back from a subpar performance in Game 3 to lead the Warriors to a 118-92 win over the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Sunday afternoon in Game 4 of their Western Conference Semifinals series.
Golden State started the game strong, shooting 46 percent and leading 16-4 after the first five minutes. The Warriors led 37-22 after the first quarter and outscored the Pelicans 33-19 in the third quarter to pull away.
“The effort was night and day from Game 3,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought our guys were dialed in.”
Durant scored a game-high 38 points on 15-of-27 shooting and went 2-for-5 from three-point range. Durant made his first three shots of the game as he saw Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis, and Jrue Holiday guard him. However, it had little to no effect.
Stephen Curry finished with 23 points and Klay Thompson added 13 for Golden State, who took a 3-1 series lead with the win and are one win away from the Western Conference Finals.
“I tried to play with force,” Durant said. “No matter if I made the shots or not, I wanted to come out and be aggressive. I tried to tell myself that I am at my best when I don’t care what happens after the game.”
New Orleans struggled from the opening tip as the Warriors cranked up their defense. The Pelicans shot just 36 percent for the game and scored just 22 points in the first quarter. After being hot from three-point range in Game 3, the Pelicans shot just 15 percent in Game 4.
“We didn’t have the looks that we normally have,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of his team’s poor three-point shooting. “We struggled at the start and I thought we got away from our gameplan. I thought they [Warriors] were really good defensively.”
Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while E’Twaun Moore added 20 and Jrue Holiday chipped in 19 for New Orleans, who suffered their first playoff loss at home this year.
The Pelicans had little help from their bench, scoring just 14 points.
“We didn’t make as many shots as we usually do,” Holiday said. “We need to come out aggressive and take some threes as well as make some. It is all about getting into a rhythm.”