Warriors hang on, grab 2-0 series lead 

click to enlarge The Warriors' Festus Ezeli, right, tries to block a shot by the Pelicans' Anthony Davis during Monday's playoff game. - MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
  • The Warriors' Festus Ezeli, right, tries to block a shot by the Pelicans' Anthony Davis during Monday's playoff game.

OAKLAND — First, Coach of the Year. Now, Steve Kerr turns into Kerrnac the Great.

After the Warriors overwhelmed the underdog New Orleans Pelicans with an otherworldly first quarter in their playoff series opener, the Warriors beat them with a fourth-quarter blitz in Game 2 on Monday.

Thompson scored 14 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors pulled away for a 97-87 victory, their 20th in a row at Oracle Arena. The best-of-seven series will shift to New Orleans for Game 3 on Thursday.

"I didn't change anything out there," said Thompson, who was less than stellar in the opener. "I was just trying to hit my shot and make the right play. I just felt good. I was fresh coming into the fourth quarter. I felt good the last two days."

Well, he did change one thing.

Thompson started out cold — he missed three of four field goal tries in the first period — which prompted him to change his Anta sneakers. He was 8 of 11 in the second half.

Don't say Kerr didn't called his shot.

"If we don't get off to a quick start, maybe we'll have a good fourth quarter," Kerr said before the game. "Every game is different and takes on its own personality. You react accordingly as a team, and as a group and a coaching staff, you make the necessary adjustments. There are 48 minutes of this, and you just play. I don't believe in momentum carrying over from one game to the next. You just go out and play."

Stephen Curry (22 points) applied the dagger for the Warriors midway through the fourth quarter, when ran down a loose ball then fed Andrew Bogut for an emphatic dunk and a 97-86 lead.

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 26 points, while Eric Gordon contributed 20 more.

The Warriors' David Lee (lower back spams) was not in uniform for the second consecutive game, but he could be active for the next one.

The Pelicans were without Jrue Holiday (sore right knee). Tyreke Evans returned to the lineup after he sat out the second half of Game 1 because of a bruised left knee.

This time, it was Davis and the Pelicans who bolted out of the gate quickly. Davis scored 10 points and Gordon scored 11 more, as the visitors raced to a 28-17 advantage.

But it will take a lot more than an early deficit to put the Pacific Division champions in a panic mode, especially at home.

"We've got a marathon ahead of us," Kerr told his team during a timeout. "Just keep doing what you're doing."

And the Warriors did just that — only better.

With Curry and reserve Leandro Barbosa in lead roles, the Warriors went off for 38 points in the second quarter. Barbosa and Curry each scored 10 points in the quarter, which Curry capped with a 3-pointer to give his team a 55-52 lead at the break.

The Warriors missed all nine of their 3-pointers in the third quarter, but it wasn't anything they couldn't overcome on this night.

pladewski@sfexaminer.com

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