Metairie, La. -- The Pelicans swept their way through the first round of the NBA Playoffs, making it to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. Handling their business against Portland means extra time to rest and prepare for the second-seeded and defending champion Warriors.
"Just being able to watch the games and see what they did against San Antonio," said Pelicans Guard Jrue Holiday. "Having a little break so that we can mentally prepare and do all that stuff. I do think we've had an advantage in that way, just having time off and everybody just locking in and watching them play."
"I just think it's a great opportunity for us to go and play the world champs and see where you are as a franchise and see what it takes to win a championship," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry.
Golden State is a familiar opponent for the Pelicans-- especially for Gentry-- who was on their coaching staff when they won it all 3 years ago. Pelicans guard Ian Clark was also on that team.
"Belichick's got a lot of assistants out there that know the Patriots well and it hasn't worked-out well either," Gentry said. "So I don't think you gain anything by it. Obviously I know tendencies and things like that and so does Ian. But at the end of the day it's about execution anyway and there's not really any team that you don't know a lot about anyway. The only advantage you have is that you've been around the guys and that you kind of know their tendencies individually and stuff like that. As a team we know just about everybody's tendencies in the league because everyone does such a good job scouting the games. We just got to go and play."
One big factor in the match-up of these two teams will of course be: when will Steph Curry return to action for Golden State? He's been out for more than a month with a sprained MCL.
"Obviously assume the worst and kind of go for that," Holiday said. "If Steph's going to play, we have ways to defend that. If he doesn't, we have ways to defend whoever the line-up is. Again, they start Andre so having him in there and even other line-ups. Maybe they don't feel like they match-up well with us so they start somebody else. Especially from the last time we played them they had a different line-up so we'll see."
"I think he will play in this series at some stage," Gentry said. "I don't know if it's the first game, second game or whatever, but I definitely think he'll play in this series. I think you've got to game plan for him being in this series and obviously we've done that."
Game one of the best-of-7 series will be at Golden State Saturday at 9:30 p.m. (CT).