After dismantling the Portland Trail Blazers in Round 1 of the playoffs Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, find themselves riding high into the Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals. Anthony Davis has hands down been the best player in these playoffs so far, averaging 33 points per game to go along with 11 rebounds, Davis has imposed his will on both ends of the floor. AD faces a Warriors team that lacks an inside presence that will challenge him I expect Davis’s dominance to continue, but the Warriors will make it as tough as possible with help defense and doubling him in the post at times which will force others on the Pelicans roster to beat them.
What has been surprising from these Pelicans is the play of the rest of the team insert guards Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday, plus forward Nikola Mirotic whom they acquired at the trade deadline. For a little while, it looked like Jrue Holiday was just playing for the game check but Holiday has averaged 28 points per game with 7 assists this postseason. His offensive game has been impressive, but the number he was able to do on Portland’s backcourt from the defensive side of the ball was key, Holiday forced a couple of terrible shooting nights from the Blazers duo, Damien Lillard, and C.J. McCollum. Rajon Rondo has been playing solid as usual dishing out assists, playing good defense, also scoring when he needs to. Rondo is the perfect point guard for what the Pelicans do, look for him to get sharpshooter Mirotic going early in this series.
The Warriors were able to advance out of the first round against the San Antonio Spurs without their star guard Stephen Curry. I expect to see Curry back at some point in this series, the question is how healthy will he be? This won’t be an easy situation for Steph to step into especially with the defensive presence of Rondo & Holiday. Look for Kevin Durant to continue to lead the charge, KD was very impressive in the opening series especially with pick-n-roll situations where he was virtually unstoppable. The Pelicans trying to trap Durant out the pick-n-roll getting the ball out of his hands forcing others to beat them. Klay Thompson will be key in this series, look for Thompson to try & keep Holiday in check by not let him go bonkers on offense. The fewer others can contribute the more it forces Anthony Davis to shoulder the load.
Prediction: Warriors 4-1