The Pelicans proved Friday they aren’t going to lay down and die for the Warriors.
New Orleans came out firing in Game 3, as they took home the win 119-100 to cut Golden State’s series lead to 2-1.
While it was a foregone conclusion in New Orleans’ previous series that Anthony Davis was the best player on the floor, the former No. 1 overall pick was destined to have more players his caliber this series.
However, he was, without a doubt, the best player on the floor Friday as he finished with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 4 steals while being shadowed by one of the best defenders in the league in Draymond Green.
“Guys made shots, that was the difference maker,” Davis told ESPN after the game. “Guys made shots, we got to the free-throw line today and we capitalized at the line and when we’re making shots and playing great defensively and holding our opponents to 100, we can score 125 every night.”
Almost more impressively though for New Orleans, Rajon Rondo turned into the mythical “Playoff Rondo” once again. The 32-year-old scored just four points, but he had 10 rebounds and 21, count ’em, 21 assists. He is the first player since 2011 to tally 20 or more assists in a playoff game. Who was that player in 2011? It was none other than Rondo.
New Orleans and Golden State now turn the attention to Game 4 which will be played Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Meanwhile in Utah, the Rockets laid waste to the Jazz on their home court leading by as much as 38 in the second half in a 113-92 victory.
After letting Game 2 get away from them early and coming up short on a comeback late in a loss to Utah, Houston left no doubt Friday.
As good as the Rockets were in Game 3 on offense, it was the defense that really made the difference. Clint Capela was the dominant post defender inside and he proved that with one emphatic block on Rudy Gobert in the second quarter.
The Frenchman endures a Swiss rejection, courtesy of Clint Capela! pic.twitter.com/AAz3Lpl2SW
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) May 5, 2018
Capela finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks.
Game 4 will tip off at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on TNT.
Studs of the Night
Klay Thompson scored a career-high 20 points in the second quarter alone and finished with 26 points and seven rebounds.
Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic may be the midseason acquisition of the year and he’s certainly making the biggest impact of anyone who came over in a trade at the deadline in the postseason. The former Bulls forward scored 16 and added 13 rebounds.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon had it going off the bench leading all scorers with 25 points to go with two rebounds.
Dud of the Night
Stephen Curry never really got going Friday as he finished 6-of-19 shooting with 19 points and six rebounds.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had an off-night with 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Jrue Holliday is a pretty decent matchup on defense for Curry, but the two-time MVP had a lot of trouble corraling him Friday on this spin and dunk down the baseline.
Jrue jams again!
— NBA (@NBA) May 5, 2018
Celtics (2-0) at 76ers (0-2) 5 p.m. ET — The Celtics dominated Philadelphia in Game 1 and ripped its heart out with a comeback in Game 2. But now it’s back to Philly and the 76ers will have their fans cheering them on this time. It will take everything to defeat Scary Terry Rozier and Boston though as the Celtics are on a roll.
Raptors (0-2) at Cavaliers (2-0) 8:30 p.m. ET — If the Raptors aren’t defeated already it would be surprising. The Cavaliers, like the Celtics, ripped Toronto’s heart out in Game 1 and then LeBron James came out and dominated the Raptors in Game 2. If the Raptors are planning on competing in this series they better start now.