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Draymond Green's Triple-Double Leads Stephen Curry, Warriors to Win vs. Pelicans

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIOctober 29, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LA -OCTOBER 28:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors high fives Stephen Curry #30 during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on October 28, 2019 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors earned their first win of the 2019-20 NBA season by topping the New Orleans Pelicans 134-123 Monday night at Smoothie King Center.

After suffering back-to-back double-digit losses to start the season, Golden State put together its most cohesive performance yet with an altered lineup. Draymond Green, who succinctly said Sunday the Warriors "f--king suck right now," made a statement with a triple-double.

New Orleans was without rookie top overall pick Zion Williamson as he continues to recover from knee surgery as well as Jrue Holiday with a knee sprain.

The Pelicans remain winless through their first four games.

      

Notable Stats

Warriors

PG Stephen Curry: 26 points, 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals

PF Draymond Green: 16 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals

SG D'Angelo Russell: 24 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists

SF Glenn Robinson III: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

SG Jordan Poole: 13 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals

SG Damion Lee: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists

     

Pelicans

PF Brandon Ingram: 27 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals

PG Lonzo Ball: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals

SF JJ Redick: 5 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 blocks

SG Josh Hart: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block

C Jaxson Hayes: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block

      

Small Ball Unlocks Warriors' Offensive Potential

Monday night was one of firsts for the 2019-20 Warriors, and most of them can be attributed to head coach Steve Kerr's decision to go with a small starting lineup in guards Stephen Curry, D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Poole alongside forwards Green and Glenn Robinson III.

For the first time in this young season, all five Warriors starters finished as double-digit scorers—led by Green's triple-double, his first of the season.

Rookie first-rounder Poole notched his first NBA start and made his first three three-pointers in the first quarter to help the Warriors to an early 17-8 lead in a game in which Golden State never trailed:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

Trey for JP 💦 📺 @NBCSAuthentic https://t.co/B8MX9HSWEp

Green's 17 rebounds were the second-most he's had in a regular-season game since entering the NBA, according to Bay Area News Group's Dieter Kurtenbach, and his 10 assists superseded the five he recorded through the previous two games combined. The 29-year-old set the tone from the start:

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater

Draymond Green brought it from the jump and that seemed to filter down the roster. Six points, seven rebounds, eight assists in the first half. Patrolled the paint. Warriors a +25 in his 18 first half minutes. They lead by 15.

Curry and Russell were also exceptional when it came to facilitating the offense, and a glimpse of Curry Past made an appearance when the two-time MVP drained a 29-footer:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Steph heard the slander and pulled up from DEEP. ☔️☔️☔️ https://t.co/xwizLqIsWq

Prior to the Warriors' date with the Pelicans, Kerr was asked if Curry taking more threes was the answer for Golden State's feeble offense. His response, per ESPN's Nick Friedell:

"I don't know that it's that simple. We could turn him into James Harden and give him the ball every play. That's really hard to do and you have to build a team for that. Houston has put five shooters on the floor for years now with Harden to give him that space. We don't have that kind of personnel, so there's not the same spacing.

"And that kind of basketball wears you out, too. Especially for a guy who's 180 pounds like Steph is. So I don't think the answer is just to run a million high screens. We don't really have the personnel for that. And I don't think it makes a ton of sense from Steph's standpoint."

Monday night's performance will be a better gauge for the offense moving forward, particularly Green's role at center to anchor the small starting five and open up space to best utilize Curry:

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

Liked Kerr starting Draymond at C tonight. Cutting/passing lanes were open, reads were easier in more space. Also the Pels w/o Jrue, Favors and Zion were...woof. Disjointed offense, clueless defense.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Warriors are 23-0 when Green records a triple-double in the regular season.

While the team's first win in a long season didn't provide the solution for this new-look and much younger Golden State team, it did provide clues that the Warriors can build upon during their upcoming four-game homestand and beyond.

     

Jaxson Hayes Lone Bright Spot for Reeling Pelicans in Loss

While the Pelicans await the delayed debut of Williamson, rookie eighth overall pick Jaxson Hayes made his debut.

Hayes' successful appearance off the bench is the only positive the winless Pelicans can take from their blowout loss against the Warriors, as New Orleans trailed by as many as 29 before making a surge in garbage time.

Will Guillory @WillGuillory

At least Jaxson is putting on a show tonight.... That's about the only positive coming out of this one

The 19-year-old center entered the game in the final seconds of the first quarter, and his first contribution came early in the second quarter when he blocked Curry:

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

OK ROOK!! https://t.co/y0rrNb6wNv

Three minutes later, his first NBA points came in the form of a dunk. And before halftime, Hayes emphasized his presence with an alley-oop dunk:

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

First NBA bucket for Jaxson Hayes! https://t.co/P6DWcUxD6I

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

Throw it DOWN young man! Jaxson with the half-court lob from Lonzo! https://t.co/mPoiZc20YW

An argument could be made for Josh Hart scoring in double digits for the fourth consecutive game to start the season as another bright spot, but Hart's scoring didn't make a difference for the Pelicans, while Hayes showed he can provide a much-needed spark in the paint until Williamson is healthy.

Hayes' emergence also had to do with starting center Derrick Favors (right knee soreness) missing Monday night's matchup.

As young as this New Orleans core is, ugly losses like this early in the season with three key players banged-up should serve as a testing ground for head coach Alvin Gentry to see who his pillars should be moving forward.

Furthering that point was veteran JJ Redick going 1-of-10 from the field (1-of-9 from three) and scoring just five points in 25 minutes of action. The only starting Pelican to perform as poorly was center Jahlil Okafor, whom Hayes outperformed.

What's Next?

Golden State will look to build on Monday's result against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night back home at the Chase Center.

New Orleans will try for its first win of the season when the Denver Nuggets come to town Thursday night.

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