Pelicans fall again as Golden State pulls away late, 108-99

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, right, shoots over Warriors forward Donte DiVincenzo during the...
Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, right, shoots over Warriors forward Donte DiVincenzo during the second half of New Orleans' loss Friday (March 3) in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)(Godofredo A. Vásquez | AP)
Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 9:03 AM CST
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Klay Thompson scored 27 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer, helping the Golden State Warriors wrap up a perfect homestand with a 108-99 victory over the Pelicans on Friday night (March 3).

CJ McCollum scored 25 points and Brandon Ingram added 17 for New Orleans. The Pelicans (31-33) have lost five of six games after being outscored 19-6 in the final 4:30.

“They just made plays,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “That’s an area that we have to continue to grow and mature. ... Those are learning experiences for us.

“That’s a good team, a championship-level team. Those guys know how to win. Our margin for error is small, especially down the stretch like that.”

The Warriors went 5-0 on their homestand, despite missing injured star Stephen Curry, to strengthen their playoff positioning in the ultra-tight Western Conference. Golden State (34-30) currently sits fifth in the conference, while New Orleans has slipped to 10th, just one game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I think just a lot of grit,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Every one of these wins was marked by our team kind of getting over the hump. Overcoming a lot of deficits, turning up the defense and grinding out games down the stretch. It’s been exciting to see our team turn a corner, but we still need to go out and win on the road.”

Jonathan Kuminga added 19 points off the bench to help the Warriors overcome a 17-point deficit in the first half. Golden State rallied from double-digit deficits to win the last four games — the first time they have done that since at least the 1997-98 season.

New Orleans led by four points in the fourth quarter before Anthony Lamb and Thompson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, with Thompson’s giving Golden State a 95-93 lead with less than four minutes to play.

Donte DiVincenzo hit another 3-pointer for his first basket of the game and then got an offensive rebound and assist on a dunk by Kuminga to make it 100-96. Golden State held on from there.

“He loves the big moments and it doesn’t matter if he’s been hot or hasn’t made a shot, like tonight,” Kerr said about DiVincenzo. “He just continues to make huge plays.”

The Warriors once again found themselves in an early hole, falling behind 17-6 in the opening minutes and then by 17 points late in the first quarter. Golden State rallied back to take a 50-49 lead on a basket by Kuminga late in the half and trailed 57-54 at the break.

Notes: Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (left calf) was sidelined for a second straight game. ... Swingman Josh Richardson (personal reasons) sat out the game. ... The Warriors are hoping to get Curry back on the upcoming trip, possibly as soon as Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Curry has missed 11th games with a left leg injury after getting hurt against Dallas on Feb. 4. Golden State is 14-12 without Curry in the lineup. ... The Pelicans finish their three-game road trip by visiting Sacramento on Monday night.

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