April 25, 2015 (Posted at 1:00 PM ET)
Picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
Take Golden State at -6 spread (buy half a point) against New Orleans risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Warriors have a chance to sweep the Pelicans tonight and we expect them to do just that. While this is only the 4th game, the series is basically all but over and this game is almost merely a formality. This series ended at the end of Game 3. If there was a game in this series that the Warriors were going to lose, it would have been that one and they probably should have. New Orleans came out energized in that game. Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis were all on fire, making shots and making plays happen. The Pelicans were in front of a raucous crowd, and the Warriors weren't hitting any of their shots. New Orleans had themselves a 20 point lead heading into the 4th quarter and appeared to be on their way to clawing themselves back into this series. The 4th quarter should have been merely a formality. Despite the huge and improbable deficit, Golden State showed tremendous heart and resilience as the stormed back and managed to send the game into overtime. They roared back to tie the game and then went on to win it in overtime. It was a huge blow for the Pelicans and we expect that letdown to carry over into tonight’s contest.
There is no doubt that the entire New Orleans franchise and crowd was stunned by what had happened as you could see it in their faces as soon as Golden State took the game to overtime. Their body language said it all. There is not anything that can be said or can be learned from in defeat such as that and Coach Monty Williams knows that. It's a loss that this young team will have to deal with on their own. After a loss like that most teams are given a chance to regroup and move on to their next opponent. The Pelicans don't have that luxury since they will once again have to face off against the team that basically snatched the playoffs right out from under them. As soon as they step out on that court we expect that all of those feelings and emotions will come rushing back to them and they will remember that they gave up 10 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points in the fourth quarter of that game. That they didn't smartly foul Marreese Speights when he pulled in the critical rebound and before he got the ball back to Curry in the left corner. That they watched a Warriors team show that the only way to really close out a game is to keep hammering and hammering away at it until there is not a single tick left on the clock. We don't believe they will have the right mentality in this game to compete. They were already outmatched from the get go and needed to play the perfect game in order to defeat the Warriors, with their minds likely not being fully focused on the task at hand; we don't expect this game to be very competitive.
All season, Golden State has dominated when there have been high-profile matchups against the other elite teams. In the regular season they defeated the Clippers, Spurs, Thunder (with Kevin Durant), Hawks, Cavs, Bulls in Chicago, Grizzlies in Memphis just to name a few. This team has consistently risen to challenges, as a 16-game winning streak and 39-2 record at home can attest to and they are carrying this over into the playoffs. The Warriors are no strangers to playoff scars. They have had their fair share of struggles in the playoffs over the years, but as the great Pat Riley once said: "All teams have to receive their scars in the playoffs before they can ascend to the very top!" The Warriors have battled, received their scars and are now ready to take the next step. The Pelicans should consider themselves proud to have made it this far. They battled for nearly half a season to get to where they are and have had their first taste of the playoffs in some time. The have a solid foundation to build on, but their time is up this season. No team in NBA history has ever come back out of a 3-0 hole to win a best-of-seven series. Knowing that they are up against it and coming off such a heartbreaking defeat, we don't believe New Orleans can rebound from that in such a short turnaround. The Warriors have momentum, a better overall team, better coaching, and a brilliant defense. The Pelicans simply do not.
For the most part this series has been fairly close, at least from a final score perspective but we don't believe this game will fall in that same category. This is a game where we feel that the Warriors will start to run away with just prior to halftime. Golden State will likely have a big lead or pull away in the second half and this time, it'll simply be too much for the dejected Pelicans to overcome. The referees made a major gaff at the end of Game 3 when they didn't blow the whistle on an obvious foul of Steph Curry on the final shot of the game. Because of this we won't be surprised to see much more stringent fouls being called on the Pelicans in this game. While Anthony Davis will likely continue to produce, he simply can't do everything on his own, it will take a complete team effort playing way above their ability in order to stop the Warriors from completing the sweep tonight and we simply don’t see that happening.
Many believe that the Pelicans will step up and win this game because their season is on the line but we disagree. They have also covered the first 3 games of this series, so naturally with this being arguably the most important game of the season; they should cover this one as well. While all of that is certainly true, we feel that the ugly way that they lost Game 3 and the short turnaround time in between games will be their downfall. This contest is likely to turn out like Game 1 with the Warriors taking control for much of the game. Unlike the first two games however we don't expect the Pelicans to have the energy nor desire to claw their way back into the game. Steve Kerr will demand 'killer instincts' from his squad in this matchup having allowed New Orleans to get back in the game already a few times. Laying 6 points with the best team in NBA in this particular spot is a more than reasonable price and only affordable because they haven't been covering spreads recently.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Golden State is 11-4 ATS in Saturday games this season.
- New Orleans has won only one of the last 9 games it has hosted the Warriors.
- Golden State is 15-5 ATS in their last 20 Conference Quarterfinals games.
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