3 things to watch in the Warriors’ game against the Pelicans

The Golden State Warriors are in the midst of a temporary rebuild this season and have two wins through 13 games.

Despite injuries to Steph CurryD’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green affecting their rocky start, the Warriors have made strides.

The Warriors lost 105-100 against the Boston Celtics on Friday night, allowing their second-fewest number of points. The fewest points they’ve allowed was 93 in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 2.

As the Warriors continue to grow, they’ll play the New Orleans Pelicans on the road Sunday. The Pelicans are one of two teams Golden State has defeated this season, with the other being the Portland Trail Blazers.

Will the Warriors continue good defense in New Orleans?

After the Warriors’ loss to the Celtics, coach Steve Kerr praised his team’s quality defensive performance.

The Warriors allowed their lowest field goal percentage of the season, as the Celtics shot 40.7% from the field.

“We played our best defensive game of the year…It was the first night, all year, I thought we looked like we knew what were doing defensively,” Kerr said, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. 

This season, the Warriors rank 29th in opponent field goal percentage and last in opponent 3-point field goal percentage.

When they defeated the Pelicans on Oct. 28, the Pelicans shot 46.6% from the field and 31.9% from the 3-point line.

Rebounding Growth

The Warriors grabbed 55 rebounds against the Celtics, tying their second-highest number of rebounds for the season.

This season Golden State ranks 20th in rebounds per game (44.4), a decrease from last season when they ranked 11th. Willie Cauley-Stein is Golden State’s top rebounder this season, averaging 6.3 rebounds a game.

The Pelicans rank 12th in rebounds per game, with Derrick Favors and Brandon Ingram being the team’s top two rebounders. Along with Favors and Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Kenrich Williams and Josh Hart each average at least five rebounds a game.

Alec Burks’ quality play off the bench

In nine games coming off the bench, Alec Burks has been the Warriors’ best reserve.

Burks has averaged 13.2 points a game off the bench this season, ranking 18th among bench players in the league, according to NBA.com. 

On Friday night against the Celtics, Burks had a team-high 20 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He also had three rebounds and an assist. With Burks starting the season well, it’ll be important for him to consistently bring a spark off the bench.

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