LAS VEGAS — The New Orleans Pelicans made things interesting Saturday night.
Falling behind early against the Golden State Warriors, the Pelicans overcame a rough first half from Seth Curry to earn a 100-91 victory in the summer league quarterfinals.
After making just 4 of 15 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, the Pelicans found themselves trailing by eight points. The Golden State lead swelled to 14 early in the second quarter before New Orleans bounced back behind an 11-point quarter from Victor Rudd, who finished with 22 points. Fuquan Edwin added 19 points.
Thanks to a 60 percent second quarter, New Orleans was able to go into the half trailing the Warriors 46-45.
“We came out a little lethargic, fast-paced, rushing,” Pelicans assistant coach Robert Pack said. “It was a big game. Guys were excited about playing today, but we settled down. Guys stuck with it. Whether it was on the court or guys on the bench encouraging each other, that’s a testament for how these guys have been really pulling for each other since Day One.”
The Pelicans advanced to Sunday’s semifinals; they’ll face Phoenix at 7 p.m. CDT (NBA TV).
The Warriors reeled off an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter, but New Orleans kept pushing. Curry found his rhythm and scored 11 points in the period and helped the Pelicans take a four-point lead into the fourth.
The teams traded leads for much of the final quarter before the Pelicans closed the game on a 14-6 run. Curry scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the final 2:07, with eight coming at the free-throw line.
“I feel like I was getting the shots I wanted; I was just way off in the first half,” Curry said. “I wasn’t worried about offense. I was just out there trying to play defense, make some good defensive plays to get my offense going.”
In five summer-league games with the Pelicans, Curry is averaging 25 points. He leads all players in Las Vegas in scoring, but Pack has been impressed by more than just his offensive skills.
“I think he’s done great for himself,” Pack said. “He’s continued to play well within himself, within the system. Taking good shots, playing under control. Tonight was a good example of his maturity, to be able to stick with it. A lot of scorers and shooters sometimes get down little bit, but he stuck with it. ”
Curry credited the play of big man Khem Birch. The UNLV alum recorded six blocked shots in his second consecutive game. He also added eight points and 12 rebounds.
“That’s him every game,” Curry said. “He’s protecting the rim for us. That’s why he’s out there.”
With the victory, the Pelicans remain the lone undefeated team of the 24 to participate in Las Vegas. Although they got off to a rocky start against the Warriors, they were able to weather the storm thanks in part to the on-court chemistry of the group.
“We haven’t really been down double figures the whole five games,” Curry said. “It was different for us, but we kept playing hard. This team is fun because we share the ball and play fast. It’s different than most summer-league teams. Everybody is playing together.”