The Golden State Warriors have defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in two competitive games this season.
On Monday night at the Smoothie King Center (6:30 p.m. on News Talk 99.5 WRNO in the New Orleans area), the Warriors will have the good fortune of not having to contend with one of the league's best players.
New Orleans forward Anthony Davis was ruled out Sunday due to an injury to his left pelvis that occurred in the fourth quarter of a loss Friday night at Utah. With Davis sidelined on Saturday night, the Pelicans (12-11) upset the Trail Blazers 123-116 in Portland behind 38 points and 13 rebounds by DeMarcus Cousins and a combined 15 3-pointers.
However, any extended absence for Davis would hurt the Pelicans chances of building a playoff contender.
"We preached before the (Portland) game, 'No excuses,'" Cousins said. "My partner in crime (Davis) went out (Friday) night. With that being said, we kind of crumpled as a team (Friday) night, so we just tried to come in with no excuses and leave it all on the floor."
Davis underwent an MRI exam Saturday in Portland, but it was described as inconclusive, leading to another MRI on Sunday.
After a lackluster 4-3 start, the Warriors, the defending NBA champions, have won 14 of their last 17 games. In rolling to a 123-95 win in Miami on Sunday, Golden State held the Heat to 59 points over the last three quarters and just 35 in the second half.
Stephen Curry led all scorers with 30 points, including 16 in the first quarter, and he was able to rest for the entire fourth quarter. The Warriors moved to 3-0 on their season-high, six-game road trip.
Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, who normally keeps his cool, was ejected by Courtney Kirkland after he bumped heads lightly with the referee while complaining that a foul should have been called on his shot attempt in the second quarter. League protocol is to review any incident in which a player makes contact with a referee for potential additional fines or suspensions.
"I know he got fouled," Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Livingston. "I didn't see the (contact), but I know there was something else to it."
In their two previous victories over the Pelicans, the Warriors won 128-120 in New Orleans on Oct. 20 and 110-95 at home on Nov. 25. Golden State has won 19 of its past 20 meetings with New Orleans.
Klay Thompson has made at least one 3-pointer in 78 consecutive games, which ties former Orlando Magic guard Dennis Smith for the fifth-longest 3-point streak in NBA history.
Playing without Davis, the Pelicans will have to rely on big numbers from Cousins and from a revitalized bench. Cousins has averaged 25.0 points on 47.1 percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two games against Golden State this season. Davis was the Pelicans' most effective player against the Warriors, averaging 32.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in the two losses.
Thompson has led Golden State in scoring against New Orleans with 28.5 points per game, and Curry has added 27.5 points and 7.0 assists.
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