Stephen Curry’s clutch 3-pointer that led to a stunning Warriors comeback win over New Orleans Thursday night is the talk of the sports world.
NEW ORLEANS – Draymond Green peered over a group of reporters and in the midst of a jubilant locker room his eyes met those of teammate Marreese Speights.
“I already shouted you out, playa,” Green told Speights, smiling. “I’m good at throwing lobs, you know what I’m saying? Don’t even worry about it, big dawg. I got you. My man!”
Indeed Green had praised Speights earlier for grabbing an offensive rebound that led to Stephen Curry’s game-tying 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in regulation in the Warriors’ improbable 123-119 first-round playoff win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I’ll remember Mo’s rebound though to give Steph that shot,” Green said. “That’s what I’ll remember.
“There’s no three without that big rebound he came up with.”
Green passed the credit around on a day when he woke up to some disappointing news for him personally. He learned by reading a notification on his phone that he had finished second to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in the voting for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Green congratulated Leonard in his comments before Game 3, telling reporters it wasn’t the end of the world because he remained in the playoff hunt and could become an NBA champion.
By the end of the game, Green had collected 12 points, 17 rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the ultimate team win as the Warriors came back from 20 points down in the fourth quarter.
Assessing his day, Green couldn’t help but smile thinking about all his team had achieved. Never mind the individual award.
“It’s a great day for me,” Green said. “All that other stuff is for the birds. I had a great day.”
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OAKLAND – Anthony Davis is looking forward to going back to New Orleans and in front of the Pelicans’ fans after Warriors fans made things difficult in Game 2.
“Our crowd is going to be just like this crowd, if not better,” Davis said before laughing a little at what he had just said.
Yeah, the crowd at Oracle Arena really is at times unmatched during the Warriors’ 97-87 win in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series.
“Not that can you top this, though,” Davis said. “This is pretty hectic in here.”
Hectic is one way to describe it. Really, the crowd was hellacious.
Fans showed their knowledge of the day’s events after Pelicans coach Monty Williams wondered aloud about the legality of the noise levels at the arena. They drowned out the Pelicans during starting lineup introductions. They were a menace even as the Warriors got off to a slow start, waiting for their moment to explode.
None of this was unexpected, and the Pelicans knew it was coming after Williams had thrown out his two cents.
The Warriors ate it up.
“At one point, it got so loud you couldn’t hear the whistle,” center Andrew Bogut said. “That’s what we want. We love our fans and the atmosphere they provide. We wouldn’t want to play anywhere else in the world.”
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SAN FRANCISCO – The New Orleans Pelicans know they’re not in Louisiana anymore when they play the Warriors at Oracle Arena in front of a raucous crowd that only grows louder during the playoffs.
“I’m not so sure that the decibel level is legal there, and I’m serious,” Williams said before Game 2 of the first-round series Monday. “They’ve done studies on that. Being on the competition committee, there’s got to be something to that because it does get a little out of hand.
“I’ve talked about it for years, they’ve got some of the best fans in the league here, and they show up early. The music before the game, they’re playing old school music, and it’s right above your locker room. And you’re like, ‘These people are crazy, man. This is pretty cool.’ So I’m sure it has an effect, but after a few minutes, it’s just basketball.”
The Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson also said the atmosphere at Oracle Arena in Game 1 on Sunday featured a “crazy crowd.” He would know, having played at Cal and occasionally attended Warriors game during his college days.
“It’s just a diehard group,” said Anderson, who grew up in Sacramento.
“It’s a cool experience to be here in the playoffs. Obviously with the team’s success, the crowd is just even more into it this year, which is fun.”
OAKLAND – Anthony Davis tried to chase down Stephen Curry in transition, and it didn’t go well.
Curry didn’t merely score. He spun the ball high off the glass and got fouled while making the shot.
“It was a fun little play, and I’m glad I executed it,” Curry said.
Said Klay Thompson: “I don’t know that went in.”
Curry finished with 34 points, with the Pelicans conceding the fact that at times the MVP candidate is just going to dazzle them.
New Orleans, however, did hold Curry to 4-for-13 from 3-point range and the Warriors to 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Pelicans did finish the regular season ranked second in the league in defending the 3-point line.
“He’s one of the best shooters in the history of the game,” the Pelicans’ Quincy Pondexter said of Curry. “Any little air space, the shot is going up, and you don’t want to look at it because it’s going to go in most likely.
“You’ve just got to try to bother him. He’s a terrific shooter. We’ve got to find a way to get a little bit closer, not let him have those wide-open ones. Try to limit those home run three that he hits.”
Curry still finished 13 for 25 from the field, get his share of easy baskets to go along with the ones with high degrees of difficulty.
“We want to win the game, so if Steph scores 70 points and we win by one, we’ll be just as happy, you know what I mean?” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.
“We’re not going to stop Steph. He’s going to miss shots, you can take some things away from him, but he’s a great player.”