Warriors hang on to slip by Pelicans 125-122; Poole leads with 38 points for W’s

The Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (right) and center Willy Hermangomez bottom at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Fri May 14, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (38-33) won their fifth straight game, downing the New Orleans Pelicans (31-40) 125-122 Friday night at the Chase Center. The Warriors currently reside in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies, with the same record as the Warriors, meet on Sunday to determine which team will be the number eight team.

A loss to the Pelicans and a Grizzlie win Friday night would not have changed the importance of Sunday’s game. The Warriors’ head coach, Steve Kerr, decided to rest his three best players Friday night. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins watched the game from the bench.

The Pelicans, in 11th place in the conference, were eliminated from the playoffs last week. Their head coach, Stan Van Gundy, rested Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Steve Adams. Zion Williamson broke his finger last week in the second game against the Warriors, and he is done for the year.

Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder were in the starting lineup at the guard position. Juan Toscano-Anderson was the other bench player getting a starting assignment. The teams played a very fast-paced and entertaining first quarter. Mychal Mulder was channeling Curry as he knocked down five threes in the first quarter. Jordan Poole paced the Warrior offense with 14 points. The Warriors outscored the Pelicans 41-32 at the end of the first 12 minutes of action.

The Warriors continued to shoot well from the floor. Kent Bazemore, along with Nico Mannion, helped keep the pressure on the Pelican defense. The Warriors outscored the Pelicans 34-25 in the quarter to finish the first half leading 75-57. Mychal Mulder made his sixth three of the game in the quarter and finished the first half with 20 points. Jordan Poole led the team with 24.

Kent Bazemore had 13, and Nico Mannion added nine. The Warriors shot 60% from the floor. Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Pelicans with 11. Willy Herangomez had 10, Eric Bledsoe 9, and Jaxson Hayes 7. The Pelicans shot 45% from the floor.

The Pelicans coach, Stan Van Gundy, must have had a heart-to-heart talk with his team about playing defense during the halftime break. The Pelicans turned the tables on the Warriors in the third quarter. Their offense came alive as they put 33 points on the board while holding Golden State to 24. Jordan Poole injured his ankle midway in the quarter. He went to the locker room and had his ankle iced. The Warriors finished the third quarter leading 99-90.

The Warriors were able to maintain the lead for most of the fourth quarter. In his first game in over a month, Eric Paschall was a catalyst keeping the Pelicans at bay. Mulder hit a two-pointer to put the Warriors ahead 112-101. They led by eleven 119-108. It was at this point that the Warrior offense went ice cold.

The Pelicans made stop after stop and were able to go on a 12-0 run to take the lead 120-119. The Warriors went three minutes and 39 seconds without scoring. Eric Paschall broke the spell with a basket to put the Warriors ahead 121-120.

The Pelicans answered with a basket of their own to lead 122-121, with 25.9 seconds left. Jordan Poole hit a basket that took just four seconds of the clock. New Orleans has 21 seconds to find a way to beat the Warriors. They tried, but the Warrior defense held. The Warriors had control of the ball. The Pelicans fouled Poole with 0.1 seconds left. Poole made both free throws, and the game was over. The Warriors win 125-122.

Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors are 39-33 for the year. The Pelicans are 31-40. The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Sacramento Kings in Memphis 107-106 to remain in the ninth spot. The winner of Sunday’s game will play the Number seven team in the conference. The Number nine team will play the Number ten team.

Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder had career-highs in scoring Friday night. Poole finished with 38 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Jordan knocked down four threes. Mulder’s line was 28 points, two rebounds, one assist, and was seven-for 13 from downtown.

Other Warriors in double figures were Kent Bazemore with 14, Eric Paschall had 12 points and four rebounds, Nico Mannion 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Juan Toscano-Anderson almost had a triple-double. His numbers were nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. The Warrior shot 49% from the floor. They made 17 threes in 39 tries. 

The Pelicans’ Nickeil Alexander-Walker had quite a night with 30 points. He connected on four threes. Naji Marshall had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Willy Hernangomez had 10. Wenyen Garland had 14, and Jaxson Hayes had 19.

The Warriors meet the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at the Chase Center. The game will start at 12:30 pm.

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