Surprising Pelicans glide to 3-0 advantage

22 April, 2018, 04:01 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • NBA Playoffs Game 3: Blazers @ Pelicans

It's a first-round tilt of the National Basketball Association playoffs down in the Big Easy.

A season-ending injury to center DeMarcus Cousins in January and a midseason trade for Mirotic changed New Orleans' personnel dramatically, and in the one regular-season game between these teams in which Portland might have seen the lineup - a road victory on March 27 - Rondo did not play.

"I never thought I'd score 30 or something like that", Mirotic said. "I don't know if it was just pain or swelling".

Game 1 saw a monster game from Anthony Davis. New Orleans is now up 3-0. Many of us are still haunted by a Game 7 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 07-08 season. Superstar Anthony Davis did what he does, getting a double double with 28 points and 11 rebounds, but his supporting cast may have been more impressive.

With Game 4 on the horizon, the Blazers have their backs against the wall and can not lose.

"When a team comes for you the way they did in that last game, maybe we need to just make it a point of emphasis to go back at 'em", Lillard commented on Friday.

But Embiid arguably wasn't Philly's best player Thursday night.

Damian Lillard scored 20 for Portland, but missed nine of an unusually low 14 shots.

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"They had a lot of attention on the ball", Lillard said. "I think this is a different coverage than I've seen in any point in my career". The Pelicans turned over the ball 10 times but still managed to shoot 61 percent from the field to take a 58-56 lead into the half.

Entering the playoffs, the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers were one of the hottest teams in the NBA led by an explosive backcourt of CJ McCollum and All-NBA candidate Damian Lillard, who had jumped into the stratosphere of elite NBA guards. He exploited Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday's defensive skills to lead the team to a top five playoff defensive rating (98.8). But, New Orleans has been very consistent with it and they've been very aggressive.

Injury report: Blazers forward Maurice Harkless is doubtful for the start of the series after knee surgery.

The Trail Blazers are struggling and they simply don't seem engaged at this point in time.

But in three games versus the Pelicans in the playoffs, Lillard has struggled mightily. When he was shown cheering on his teammates on the main scoreboard, fans erupted into chants of "Boogie!" Scored 62 points in the paint and 32 on fast breaks.

The Pelicans wore their alternate red uniforms, and every fan was given a matching red T-shirt, turning the entire packed seating area into a sea of red.

The large crowd was treated to a masterful game. New Orleans lead throughout the game.

Davis joined the fray with his typical array of alley-oop dunks, one of which he caught with his back to the basket and threw down with a two-handed reverse jam. The All-Star point guard made only 5 of 14 shots and had two assists and eight turnovers in 35 minutes.

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