NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stephen Curry wasn’t about to say that shooting over Anthony Davis was easy.
The Warriors’ prolific scorer was just crafty enough to make it look that way sometimes.
Equally devastating from long range and on drives to the hoop, Curry scored 39 points, and the Golden State Warriors took a 109-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night, completing a sweep of their first-round playoff series.
“I knew he was crafty, I mean, a great shooter,” Davis said of Curry, who averaged 33.8 points in the series. “There’s nothing you can do. You try to pressure him and run him off the (3-point) line and he’ll hit incredible shots in the lane. You back off so he won’t drive, he’s going to hit a 3. So you’ve got to pick your poison and he’s a tough player to guard. That’s why he’s (a candidate) for MVP.”
Klay Thompson added 25 points for the Warriors, the NBA’s top overall seed, who will wait to host Game 1 of their second-round series against the winner of the Portland-Memphis matchup.
“I’m proud of the way we played, the way we competed,” Curry said. “Four in a row is a good feeling. We’re going to rest up.”
Draymond Green added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Golden State, which raced to a 67-54 halftime lead and widened the gap to as many as 24 points in the second half before the desperate Pelicans briefly cut their deficit to single digits in the final minutes.
Curry had eight rebounds and nine assists in Game 4.
“What we’ve been through playing against Steph sometimes, it’s not fair,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “Steph is like, he’s on a different level — some of the shots he makes, his command of the ball, his ability to finish. The moment doesn’t bother him.
“He is in the elite of the elite right now, and he’s after something and you can tell by the way he’s playing.”
Davis had 36 points and 11 rebounds to close out what has been a remarkable third season for the Pelicans’ 22-year-old franchise player. He just didn’t have quite enough help on either end of the court.
The 6-foot-10 Davis is one of few big men quick and agile enough to guard the NBA’s top perimeter players, and he usually has a height advantage about as significant as the 7 inches he had on Curry.
“We had a couple sets that we tried to get him away from the basket so that we could attack the paint,” Curry said. “Tonight a couple times I just tried to go 1-on-1 and get some space. He’s very long, obviously, and can contest a lot of shots, but I found a little bit of daylight.”
Eric Gordon had 29 points and Ryan Anderson added 10 for the Pelicans, but they needed more than that as Golden State shot 50.6 percent, including 13 of 24 from 3-point range.
Curry was 6 of 8 from deep, while Thompson was 4 of 7 and Green 3 of 6.
“The first three games all came down to the wire and then I thought tonight was our best effort of the series,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I’m very pleased with the effort and I’m very pleased I don’t have to see Anthony Davis until November at the earliest.”
The Pelicans said they had no intention of giving up, no matter how bleak their series deficit looked. They looked competitive early on, shooting 50 percent in the first half, but Golden State’s accurate perimeter shooting made effective defense a difficult proposition.
Then, needing a strong third quarter, the Pelicans instead struggled offensively, hitting only five of 18 shots.
The Warriors led 87-63 on Harrison Barnes’ dunk late in the third quarter, and the lead was 21 entering the fourth.
Warriors: F David Lee, hampered recently by back soreness, was in uniform and available to play for the first time in the series. He did not play, however. … Four of Green’s first five assists were on 3s made by Curry and Thompson, meaning he figured in 34 first-half points. … The Warriors hadn’t swept a seven-game series since defeating the Washington Bullets in four straight in the 1975 Finals. … As a player, Kerr made 84 3s in 128 playoff games. Curry has 84 in 23 playoff games.
Pelicans: The Pelicans wound up with no fast-break points, compared to 20 for Golden State. … New Orleans shot only 22.7 percent (5 of 22) from 3-point range. Gordon was 3 of 9 from deep.
The Warriors, who needed a 20-point, fourth-quarter comeback to win Game 3 after falling behind by double digits early, got off to their more usual fast start in Game 4. They shot 56.8 percent in the opening half, hitting nine of 14 from 3-point range. Green made eight of his first 10 shots, including 3 of 4 from deep, for 20 points. Curry started 6 of 10 for 20 points, including 4 of 5 from 3, and Thompson started 6 of 9 for 15 points. Golden State finished the half with an 18-0 advantage in fast break points.
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