The Golden State Warriors are the reigning champs and have made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. The New Orleans Pelicans just made it out of Round 1 for the first time since 2007-08, back when they were knowns as the Hornets.
That may seem like a David versus Goliath scenario, but don't expect the underdogs to be intimidated in their second-round Western Conference matchup.
On Friday, New Orleans star Anthony Davis made it clear his team has confidence, per ESPN.com's Nick Friedell:
"It's fun. We know that we can beat them. We've done it in the regular season. And we've been in every game that we lost [against them], so we know that we're a good matchup against these guys and we've got a lot of confidence in ourself. Anytime they score, we know they're going to score and make shots, it's tough, we just got to get the ball out fast and push it down the floor and try to [go] quicker."
That's the type of confidence every coach should want its players to have.
True, New Orleans did beat Golden State during the regular season...once in four meetings. Its lone victory came three weeks ago in a 126-120 shootout, a game in which Stephen Curry sat out (sprained MCL).
It's unclear if Curry will play during this series after he missed the first round, although Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced Thursday the two-time NBA MVP is "questionable" for Game 1 on Saturday at Oracle Arena.
That was possible because of an impressive team effort, with Anthony Davis (33.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game), Jrue Holiday (27.8 PPG, 6.5 APG and 4.0 RPG) and Rajon Rondo (11.5 PPG, 13.5 APG and 7.7 RPG) all balling out.
There's a difference in beating these Warriors once during the regular season and four out of seven times in the playoffs. Davis got a firsthand look at that in the 2015 postseason, when Golden State swept New Orleans. However, this is a different, more experienced Pelicans team—and it has caught fire at the right time.