NBA Playoffs: Warriors unleash 'Hamptons Five' in Game 4 blowout win over Pelicans
Golden State started its best lineup for the first time ever, and the Pelicans never stood a chance
As much as the New Orleans Pelicans dominated Game 3, that's how much the Golden State Warriors dominated Game 4. The Warriors took a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series with a 118-92 wire-to-wire win that was never in doubt.
Here are a few takeaways from the game, as Golden State looks to close out the series on Tuesday night in Oakland.
Hamptons Five unleashed
Before Sunday, the Warriors' unquestioned best lineup (and one of the best five-man units in NBA history) had actually never started a game together. That changed when Steve Kerr trotted out Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green to start Game 4. Needless to say, it worked. After a peculiar decision to start JaVale McGee last game, the small-ball, up-tempo Hamptons Five gave the Warriors the exact start they needed after being bullied in Game 3. The lineup isn't ideal to start against every opponent, but it clearly seems like the right fit against this New Orleans squad. The stats backed up the eye test as well, as that unit was absolutely dominant in 18 minutes together.
Kevin Durant's pretty good
After a relatively quiet Game 3, you knew Kevin Durant was going to come out more aggressive -- but we didn't know he'd be downright unstoppable. Durant found plenty of success posting up Jrue Holiday, a great defender just giving up too much size, and taking Anthony Davis outside. K.D. finished with 38 points on 27 shots, and added nine rebounds and five assists. While some, like my colleague Brad Botkin, feel that posting up Durant takes the Warriors out of their offense, it's quite a luxury to have a go-to scorer as efficient as Durant in the post.
As Davis goes, so do the Pelicans
The Brow was utterly dominant in Game 3 with 33 points and 18 rebounds, but performed about as poorly as he's capable of in Game 4. Davis finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds -- a great night for most mortals -- but he shot 8 for 22 from the field, turned the ball over six times, and never looked like the dominant force that the Pelicans need him to be in order to have a chance in this series. Credit the Warriors defense for keeping Davis under wraps, but New Orleans just has no chance against a clicking Golden State team if Davis doesn't have a nearly perfect game.
Steph uses garbage time wisely
Curry didn't have a poor game by any stretch of the imagination -- 23 points on 8 for 17 shooting and 4 of 9 3-pointers -- but anyone who watched the game will tell you that he wasn't quite himself out there. He's clearly still trying to get his legs back after a six-week absence due to his knee injury, so he took a gamble at the end of the game. With both teams emptying the bench late in the fourth quarter, Curry remained on the court. He made a deep 3-pointer with 3:29 to go, and just for good measure he pleaded with Kerr to leave him in for one more possession. Kerr obliged, and Curry hit a tough pull-up jumper before promptly exiting the game. Curry wanted to get in a little bit of a rhythm heading into Game 4, and it looks like he accomplished his goal.
Dray and Iggy, the defensive Wonder Twins
New Orleans couldn't look up at any point during Game 4 without seeing Draymond Green and/or Andre Iguodala in the passing lanes. They were all over the place, combining for seven steals, three blocks and countless acts of intimidation on the defensive end. Having those two on the court at the same time is simply a nightmare for offenses, and it makes that Hamptons Five lineup -- already unguardable on offense -- equally imposing on defense.
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