Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry gets early technical foul against Warriors

Pelicans owner Gayle Benson crosses the court before playoff game four between the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Every step of the way, Gayle Benson is there.

The New Orleans Pelicans owner attended another playoff game Saturday (April 28) when the Pelicans opened a Western Conference semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

The Pelicans posted a photo of her with team president Dennis Lauscha just before the start.

Pelicans Owner Mrs. Benson and Team President Dennis Lauscha courtside for Game 1! #doitBIGGER pic.twitter.com/YOC16TFZ2c

— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) April 29, 2018

Benson, whose husband and former team owner Tom passed away in March after a weeks-long flu battle, attended all four first-round playoff games against the Portland Trail Blazers, including the two on the road.

Benson said before the playoffs she planned to be with the team through the entire postseason.

She also has devoted some time to the New Orleans Saints, sitting in the team meeting room as they selected defensive end in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The coming week should be a busy one, as Benson also has an entrant in next weekend’s Kentucky Derby. The Derby will be sandwiched between two home Pelicans playoff games Friday and Sunday.

OAKLAND, Calif. — The New Orleans Pelicans got some good news going into Game 1 of their second-round series against the Golden State Warriors, but that doesn’t make the task any easier.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced before the game that point guard Stephen Curry will befitting out Saturday night (April 28) with a sprained left MCL that has kept him sidelined since March 23.

Curry went through a full-contact practice for the first time since injuring his knee on Friday, but Kerr said he still wants Curry to get a few more days of practice under his belt before putting him back on the court.

Kerr added that it is "very likely" the two-time MVP will be available to play in Game 2, which is scheduled for Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

Even with the news that Curry will be out, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stressed that the defending champions still have plenty of weapons and his team will have to play "at an extremely high level" to steal a win at Oracle Arena.

"I think you’ve got to catch them any time you can," Gentry said. "Steph is great, a two-time MVP, but they’re still pretty doggone good without him. They’ve already proven that. They just won a series against the (San Antonio) Spurs without him. You’re still going to have to play at an extremely high level to be able to win a game where he’s not in the game."

The Pelicans have been off for a week since completing a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round on April 21. Gentry has been preparing gameplans for his team that would include schemes designed to attack the Warriors with or without Curry.

The Pelicans beat the Warriors 126-120 on April 7 with Curry sitting out, picking up their first win at Oracle since 2012.

"We played them without Steph a few weeks ago," Gentry said. "We have a general idea how we would like to try to play them. We practiced all week with the understanding that Steph was probably going to play. He will play, it’s not like he’s going to miss the entire series. We practiced both ways. What we’ll do is ‘Plan B’ I guess or ‘Plan A.’ Whatever you want to call it."

Gentry said getting that win was important for his team’s confidence, but he doesn’t expect to take anything from that matchup into the playoff series.

"I don’t read one thing into the last game we played here," he said. "That one is done and gone. I think you’ll see, and you’ve seen it in most of the playoff games, that each game is its own entity, I think. Things that happened in the game before really sometimes doesn’t even happen in the next game."

Will Guillory can be reached at wguillory@nola.com or 504.258.5344. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WillGuillory. You can subscribe to our Pelicans Youtube channel here.

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