Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pelicans Get Shot at No. 1 Warriors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pelicans Get Shot at No. 1 Warriors

Article excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif. * Golden State secured the No. 1 overall seed two weeks ago and has been at the top of the NBA standings all season. New Orleans needed an all-out effort through its last game against San Antonio to claim the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

Expectations for both teams now are just as stark.

The Warriors are hoping the Pelicans are a prelude to their championship march. New Orleans has a nothing-to-lose-and- everything-to-gain mentality in the franchise's first postseason appearance since 2011.

The best-of-seven series starts Saturday at amped-up Oracle Arena, and the only differences that matter will be settled on the court in front of a gold-shirt wearing sellout crowd and a national television audience.

"They don't care that we won 67 games," Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. "We don't get an extra pat on the back before the series starts or anything like that. We get home court and that's about it."

The Warriors are counting on their talent, experience and playoff pedigree to power them through what they hope is a run that ends with a championship parade.

They have MVP favorite Stephen Curry and fellow sweet-shooting guard Klay Thompson in the backcourt. They have the NBA's top-rated defense and highest-scoring offense. And they have the league's toughest home court, where 19,596 roaring fans have rocked and rattled road teams since well before the Warriors were good.

"This is what we've been waiting for," Curry said. "Everything we've gone through to this point will hopefully prepare us for this journey of winning 16 games."

Golden State might be the deeper, more talented team. But the Pelicans present problems for anybody because of Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft, who is on the verge of stardom if he's not there already.

The 6-foot-10 power forward, who won a national title at Kentucky and a gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, practically carried the Pelicans into the playoffs. …

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