Panzura postgame wrap: Warriors 126, Pelicans 85

New Orleans has been in every recent game it’s played over the past 10 days, falling short each time but always carrying hope for a victory into the fourth quarter. Golden State made sure that run of competitiveness came to an end Friday.

The Warriors went up by double digits in the first half, before the Pelicans created a four-point margin at halftime, but the hosts regained control immediately after intermission. Golden State outscored New Orleans by a 34-16 tally in the third period, breaking open the Western Conference matchup. The Warriors went up by as many as 44 in the final minutes.

The evening started on a bad note for New Orleans, when rookie forward Herbert Jones was ruled out of action after sustaining an ankle sprain during pregame warmups. Jones had been cleared in the NBA’s concussion protocols Friday, but then couldn’t play as a result of that injury.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Golden State capitalized on a series of New Orleans mistakes late in the third quarter, building a 22-point lead at 88-66. After the Pelicans scored 31 points in the first quarter, they only managed 35 combined in the middle periods.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jonas Valanciunas had a 20-10 game by the midway point of the third quarter, but was the only thing working offensively in that period for the Pelicans (he scored seven of the team’s first eight points).

BY THE NUMBERS

2: Two-way contract signee Jose Alvarado appeared in his second official NBA game and scored the first points of his career, draining a left-wing three-pointer immediately after being subbed into the action. He added a cutting layup for five points.

20: New Orleans turnovers, leading to 29 Golden State points.

REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME

FINISH STRONG

Unlike previous games in Phoenix and Sacramento, the fourth quarter was not a decisive factor Friday, because Golden State had already seized command.

EFFICIENT OFFENSE

New Orleans put together a so-so first half offensively (45 percent shooting, nine turnovers), but went through a costly third-quarter drought.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Golden State’s Jordan Poole was a force, hitting numerous jumpers en route to a 26-point night, two days after he piled up 31 vs. Charlotte. At shooting guard for New Orleans, Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s difficult evening consisted of eight points and 3/11 shooting.

#FANFRIDAY

Golden State is on the short list of NBA teams that missed the playoffs last season but are off to tremendous starts in 2021-22, but the Warriors’ success may not be that unexpected based on their talent and past accomplishments. In a Friday poll on Twitter, among four options for the question “Which non-playoff team from last season has surprised you most?” Golden State received the least votes by a significant margin. Cleveland was the winner at 45 percent, with Chicago and Toronto runners-up at 25 and 22 percent, respectively. All three of those squads have climbed the Eastern Conference standings behind youngsters (Cavaliers, Raptors) and/or a revamped roster (Bulls).

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