The New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors both had nothing to play for Friday.
The Pelicans were eliminated from play-in tournament contention Wednesday. The Warriors are locked into the play-in tournament, and their game Sunday will determine which side of the bracket they play on.
There were zero stakes, and early in the game, the Pelicans’ performance reflected that. They came out flat, allowing 41 first-quarter points to a Warriors team that was missing its top three scorers. By halftime, they were in an 18-point hole.
The final result: a 125-122 New Orleans loss to Golden State in both teams’ penultimate regular-season games. New Orleans (31-40) finished with a 13-23 road record this season.
“We didn’t try at all in the first half,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We didn’t try. We didn’t focus. We made no effort whatsoever in the first half. In the second half, we tried.”
Unlike their previous two meetings against the Warriors earlier this month, the Pelicans didn’t have to deal with Stephen Curry. The Warriors star got the night off. Somehow, Golden State’s backcourt still torched New Orleans.
Warriors sharpshooter Mychal Mulder came out hot, and by halftime, he had connected on six 3-pointers. The Pelicans couldn’t stay connected with him.
Warriors guard Jordan Poole also caught fire. He scored 24 in the first two quarters, and he finished the game with 38 points on 12-of-22 shooting.
In the second half, the…