Programming note: Watch "SportsNet Central: Warriors Playoff Central" on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m., and immediately following Game 1 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
OAKLAND -– The Warriors say they're ready to start the playoffs, and there is considerable evidence indicating they'll be ready to roll when the second season begins Saturday.
One thing is certain: The New Orleans Pelicans will receive a rude, rocking, greeting upon entering Oracle Arena for Game 1 of this first-round series.
The Warriors (67-15 in the regular season) last month won the Pacific Division, then captured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and then, for good measure, copped the overall top seed in the NBA.
They are favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
The Pelicans (45-37) earned the No. 8 seed with an upset win over San Antonio on the final night of the regular season.
Which is not to suggest New Orleans should be taken lightly – especially now. The Pelicans reached the postseason despite coping with a litany of injuries throughout the regular season. They finally are fully healthy, and have the potential to be formidable.
Warriors by 9.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Draymond Green vs. Anthony Davis. Green will be the primary defender, but the Warriors are certain to send others at the long-limbed and highly skilled Davis. The goal is not to limit is scoring as much as it is to limit his overall effectiveness. He's the one opponent with the goods to give the Warriors all kinds of fits.
Stephen Curry vs. Tyreke Evans/Jrue Holiday. Though Evans has been starting at the point, natural point guard Holiday has overcome leg pain and finally is healthy enough to take the floor. And he's a much better defender than Evans. Curry will try to use his quickness on Evans and he'll try to run Holiday ragged.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Bigs be careful. The frontcourt players, particularly Bogut and Green, have to defend tightly but skillfully enough to avoid foul trouble.
2) Beat the bench. The Warriors reserves must keep Ryan Anderson and Norris Cole from draining treys. They should be up to the task, but they'll have to prove it.
3) Pressure D. The Pelicans did a nice job thriving without a true point guard. But the playoffs are a different animal, and the Warriors will be out to make that statement.
Warriors: F David Lee (lower back strain) is listed as out.
Pelicans: No injuries listed.
After sweeping the Pelicans (7-0) in the two previous seasons, the Warriors this season won three of four. The Warriors won 10 in a row prior to a 103-100 loss on April 7 at New Orleans. This is the first time the teams have met in the postseason.