OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors seek to go up 2-0 over the New Orleans Pelicans in their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night and just might get some help in doing so.
Star point guard Stephen Curry is listed as probable in his quest to return from a 5 1/2-week absence as the Warriors go for their 14th consecutive home win in postseason play.
Riding 27 points from Klay Thompson, 26 from Kevin Durant and a stifling defense that limited the Pelicans to 40 points in the middle two quarters, the Warriors won the best-of-seven opener 123-101 on Saturday.
Curry, who had hoped to be cleared for Game 1, worked out with the club Monday.
Afterward, while insisting that no formal decision would be made until after pregame warmups Tuesday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced the team’s leading scorer would have no minutes restriction in his first game since suffering a sprained left MCL on March 23.
“It’s exciting; I’m excited,” said backcourt mate Klay Thompson, whose game-high point total and defense on Pelicans backcourt star Jrue Holiday were equally important in the Game 1 win. “I feel like a fan. I can’t wait to see him out there.
“He’s looks ready as ever.”
That’s certainly not good news for the Pelicans, as the last three times Curry returned from an injury this season he scored 38, 24 and 29 points in an average of 28.3 minutes in his first game back.
New Orleans also is seeking a different look than the one that saw Anthony Davis post his lowest point total since March 30 and Holiday his lowest since April 9. They were held to 21 and 11 points, respectively, in Game 1.
Davis and Holiday went to the free throw line six times and the Pelicans just 11, allowing the Warriors to enjoy a 24-9 advantage in points scored at the foul line. Golden State attempted 32 free throws.
The career-low four trips to the line was especially odd for Davis, who had averaged 9.3 in his first eight career playoff games.
“You can try to get to the foul line. It’s tough when you’re playing the world champs,” Holiday said. “Honestly, we can try all we want to. We felt like some of the calls could’ve gone our way last game; they didn’t.”
Davis has 10 rebounds to go with his 21 points, posting his fifth straight double-double this season. New Orleans eliminated Portland in the first round, becoming the first sixth seed to sweep a third seed in NBA playoff history.
New Orleans got off to a hot start in Game 1, taking as much as a 21-16 lead while shooting 60 percent in the first quarter.
But the Warriors tightened the defensive screws in the second and third periods, limiting the visitors to 16-of-51 shooting (31 percent) while running off to as many as a 31-point lead before the third period ended.
The win was the Warriors’ 25th in their last 27 meetings with the Pelicans, a run that includes a sweep in their first-round playoff matchup in 2015.
Golden State has gone 11-2 in Game 2s, all at home, since the beginning of the 2015 playoffs.