NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans are counting on their young star Anthony Davis to build on his scant two games of playoff experience to get them back into their first-round series against the Warriors.
The Pelicans are counting on getting an emotional lift from a sellout home crowd at the Smoothie King Center — the first playoff game in New Orleans in four years — to help close the gap in a 2-0 series that has been closer than expected.
The No. 8 seed in the Western Conference will have to count on a much bigger impact from Ryan Anderson to have any real hope of knocking off the No. 1 overall seed of the playoffs.
In the first two games of the series, the Pelicans have not received the boost off the bench that can make a difference from Anderson’s perimeter scoring ability. He’s shot just 2-for-11 for a total of seven points so far in the series, which continues the struggles since returning from a sprained MCL in his right knee that forced Anderson to miss 18 games late in the season.
“I feel like I am and I can be a big scoring threat,” Anderson told the media following Wednesday’s practice. “It has been tough for me to find a rhythm coming back from the knee injury, but that’s no excuse.
Though they’ve been largely unsuccessful in slowing down the whirlwind talent of Davis, the Warriors have attacked Anderson with defensive pressure to prevent him from getting good open looks at the basket. Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes have taken turns getting Anderson out of his comfort zone.
“Obviously I think they are doing a good job of trying to take me out,” Anderson said. “They are putting a smaller guy on me and not leaving me, so It creates an opportunity for me to spread the court and create for my teammates. The few shots I do get, I would like to make them and that’s what I’m working on.”
Coach Monty Williams believes the key to getting his sharpshooting big man untracked is to get Anderson out in transition to get him shots and scoring chances before the Warriors have a chance to set up their defense.
“I feel like if we can take advantage of the stops we’re getting and rebound, we can find him in transition,” Williams said.