Warriors finally pick up first win, but Green admits ‘we’re still not a very good team’
NEW ORLEANS — Draymond Green turned in the all-court performance the Golden State Warriors needed to secure their first victory of the season, and then said what he felt was necessary to preserve maximum humility and hunger in the locker room.
“We’re still not a very good team,” Green said.
Green had 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Warriors to a 134-123 victory over winless New Orleans on Monday night.
Stephen Curry had 26 points, 11 assists and three steals for Golden State, which dropped its first two games by 19 or more points before dominating a Pelicans squad that was missing three injured starters, including top overall draft choice Zion Williamson.
“We got to continue to compete at a high level. The first two nights we didn’t do that. Tonight we did,” Green said, stressing the Warriors have seven players with three or fewer years of experience in the NBA. “As leaders of this team, we continue to try to bring it every night and give them something to follow and, you know, we’ll win some games.”
D’Angelo Russell added 24 points, and Damion Lee set career highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Green’s layup with 5:07 left put the Warriors ahead 128-99 before the Pelicans made an inconsequential run to make the final score look more competitive than the bulk of the game was.
“We were never in the game,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We never had any chance at all to win and I think that’s the most disturbing thing to me — especially playing at home.”
Brandon Ingram had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who had not lost any of their first three games by more than seven points before being run out of their own building by the Curry and Co.
The Pelicans were playing a second straight game without veteran guard Jrue Holiday, who has a sprained left knee, and also were without starting center Derrick Favors because of right knee soreness.
“We have enough guys in here where we feel like we can win basketball games,” Ingram said. “We won’t get discouraged at all.”
Warriors: Glen Robinson III had 12 points and nine assists. … Kevon Looney missed his second straight game with right hamstring tightness, while Alec Burks (right ankle sprain), Willie Cauley-Stein (left foot sprain) and Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain) have yet to make their season debut.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball had 12 points and nine assists. … First-round draft pick Jaxson Hayes had 19 points in his Pelicans debut. … Kenrich Williams scored 16 points and rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker, picked 17th overall, had 15 points and nine assists. … Veteran guard E’Twaun Moore did not play for a third straight game despite being healthy.
Curry said he and Green are accepting more complicated roles on a team that is trying to assimilate an infusion of youth.
“It’s going to be a theme of the season — we have to fight for everything we get this year and it may not be pretty,” Curry said. “It’s not only do we have to perform every night, (but) for lack of a better term, you’ve got to teach.”
“We accept that challenge and that responsibility,” Curry added.
Hayes debuted as a reserve, playing almost 24 minutes and pleasing the crowd with several dunks, including one on a long alley-oop pass from Ball.
“It felt great finally being out there and being able to play,” Hayes said. “We just have so many new people. I feel like just getting used to playing with each other, learning the defense, all that type of stuff will just help a lot more.”
OFF THE MARK
New Orleans went 15 of 47 (31.9 percent) from 3-point range and missed 10 of 22 free throws.
J.J. Redick had a rough night for the Pelicans. The normally reliable veteran missed nine of 10 shots, including eight of nine from 3.
Warriors: Host Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Host Denver on Thursday night.
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