The Warriors bounced back from a 119-100 thumping at New Orleans in Game 3 with an equally convincing 118-92 romp in Game 4, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Golden State can advance to its fourth straight Western Conference finals with a Game 5 win at home, where it has won 14 consecutive playoff games, one shy of the NBA record.
The Chicago Bulls set the standard of 15 straight home wins from April 1990 to May 1991.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr went with a new starting lineup in Game 4, inserting Andre Iguodala alongside All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green for the first time in Durant’s two seasons with Golden State.
The result was a 17-4 game-opening burst that created a lead the Warriors never came close to relinquishing.
“You’re on the road and threatened, you put your five best guys out there,” Kerr explained. “To start like that sets a great tone.”
The Warriors dominated the game both offensively and defensively, the latter having been a key to their run to two championships in the last three seasons.
Golden State has won its last nine playoff games — four this season, five last year — when holding the opponent below 100 points, a streak that dates to Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals when Cleveland prevailed 93-89 to claim the title.
The Warriors, who have held the home-court advantage in every playoff series in which they’ve participated since Kerr took over as coach for the 2014-15 season, have won Game 5 (always at home) eight of the last nine times a series has reached a fifth game.
Again, the only loss was in the 2016 Finals when the Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to stun the defending champs.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, have a bit of positive history to call upon in their quest to stay alive and perhaps advance past the second round for the first time ever.
Known then at the Hornets and down 3-1 in the best-of-seven, New Orleans won 93-91 at Philadelphia in the Eastern semifinals in 2002 — the first year of the New Orleans franchise — to force a Game 6, which they lost at home to the 76ers 107-103.
With their bench having been outscored 134-95 in the four games, the Pelicans have burned their starters big minutes, with Anthony Davis (39.3) and Jrue Holiday (38.2) leading the series in minutes played.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry had that in mind when he called off a scheduled workout on Monday in Oakland.
“We do have guys that are playing heavy minutes,” he explained. “Really, all the starters are playing real heavy minutes. I thought it would be a good idea today to let their minds rest, their bodies rest.”
The Pelicans have played their best in the series when rested.
The clubs got two days off in Oakland after Golden State’s 123-101 victory in Game 1. The Pelicans rebounded with a strong effort in Game 2, falling just 121-116 on the road.
Then after two more days off, New Orleans was re-energized at home and responded with its 119-100 triumph.
The teams were then rushed back from a Friday night to a Sunday afternoon for Game 4, during which the Pelicans shot just 4 of 26 on 3-pointers after having scorched the nets for 14 of 31 in the Game 3 win.
Source: Fox Sports