The New Orleans Pelicans proved on Friday they are not going to lay down and die for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs.
New Orleans came out firing in game three, as they took home the win 119-100 to cut Golden State’s series lead to 2-1.
While it was a foregone conclusion in New Orleans’ previous series that Anthony Davis was the best player on the floor, the former number one overall pick was destined to have more players his calibre this series.
However, he was, without a doubt, the best player on the floor Friday as he finished with 33 points, 18 rebounds and four steals while being shadowed by one of the best defenders in the league in Draymond Green.
“Guys made shots, that was the difference maker,” Davis told ESPN after the game. “Guys made shots, we got to the free-throw line today and we capitalised at the line and when we’re making shots and playing great defensively and holding our opponents to 100, we can score 125 every night.”
Almost more impressively though for New Orleans, Rajon Rondo starred. The 32-year-old scored just four points, but he had 10 rebounds and 21 assists. He is the first player since he managed it in 2011 to tally 20 or more assists in a playoff game.
When you throw 21 dimes you get the #AssistOfTheNight
@RajonRondo #DoItBigger| #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/cveJ28yAFu
— NBA (@NBA) May 5, 2018
New Orleans and Golden State now turn the attention to game four, which will be played on Sunday.
In Utah, the Houston Rockets laid waste to the Jazz on their home court, leading by as many as 38 in the second half in a 113-92 victory.
After letting game two get away from them early and coming up short on a comeback late in a loss to Utah, Houston left no doubt on Friday.
As good as the Rockets were in game three on offense, it was the defense that really made the difference. Clint Capela was the dominant post defender inside and he proved that with one emphatic block on Rudy Gobert in the second quarter.
THOMPSON SHINES FOR WARRIORS
Klay Thompson scored a career-high 20 points in the second quarter alone and finished with 26 points and seven rebounds.
Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic may be the midseason acquisition of the year and he is certainly making the biggest impact of anyone who came over in a trade at the deadline in the postseason. The former Bulls forward scored 16 and added 13 rebounds.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon had it going off the bench, leading all scorers with 25 points to go with two rebounds.
Stephen Curry never really got going Friday as he finished six-of-19 shooting with 19 points and six rebounds.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had an off-night with 10 points on four-of-16 shooting.
HOLIDAY OUTDOES CURRY
Jrue Holiday is a pretty decent matchup on defense for Curry, but the two-time MVP had a lot of trouble corralling him Friday on this spin and dunk down the baseline.
Jrue jams again!
He has 11 PTS after 1 #DoItBigger@PelicansNBA up 30-21 heading to 2nd Q on @ESPNNBA pic.twitter.com/wboJmR7Z8R
— NBA (@NBA) May 5, 2018
CELTICS AT 76ERS, RAPTORS AT CAVS
The Celtics dominated Philadelphia in game one and ripped their heart out with a comeback in game two. But now it is back to Philly and the 76ers will have their fans cheering them on this time. It will take everything to defeat Terry Rozier and Boston though as the Celtics are on a roll.
If the Raptors are not defeated already it would be surprising. The Cavaliers, like the Celtics, ripped Toronto’s heart out in game one and then LeBron James came out and dominated the Raptors in game two. If the Raptors are planning on competing in this series they better start now.