Portland, Oregon- The New Orleans Pelicans traveled to Portland to face off against the Trailblazers in the 1st game of opening round of the NBA Playoffs. New Orleans riding in on a five game winning streak feeling confident after some solid wins over Golden St & San Antonio now focus on Portland.
The Pelicans mega star Anthony Davis fresh off being named Western Conference Player Of The Month wanted his first playoff win of his career.
Davis and the Pells were truly special tonight as they ratcheted up the defense while having laser sharp focus. Davis finished the contest with a game high 35 points 14 rebounds and 4 blocks in 41 minutes.
They’re excellent defense on the outstanding duo of Lillard & McCollum slowed them down until later in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans won every period but the final one and did what they needed to do to close the game out 97-95. Jrue Holiday was special in this one, not only did he make play after play on the defense but was also locked in offensively as well.
Holiday finished the game with 21 points 7 assists and 5 rebounds. The third of the Pels big three was Mr Nikola Mirotic who continues to be huge for New Orleans. Mirotic contributed 16 points 11 rebounds with 4 blocks in 40 minutes of play.
The game had gotten close late in the fourth when Holiday committed 3 turnovers in a row which allowed Portland to sneak back in within a few points.
The Pels responded with strips, blocks & free-throw conversions to hold off the Trail Blazers. Holiday had a huge late block on Portland’s forward Phil Connaughton on a lay up attempt. The block redeemed Jrue and sealed the game for The Pelicans.
New Orleans shot 48% vs Portland’s 38% from the field.
New Orleans shot 33% from the downtown VS Portland’s 31%.
The Pelicans didn’t play a perfect game against Portland tonight. They still allowed 15 turnovers, were out-rebounded which gave Portland 15 offensive rebounds or second chance shots against a club you simply can’t do that with.
But fortunately for New Orleans the big three of Davis, Holiday & Mirotic were better than the big two of Lillard & McCollum at least in game one.
New Orleans Pelicans Top Scorers
-Anthony Davis 35 points 14 rebounds 4 blocks
-Jrue Holiday 21 points 7 assists 5 boards
-Nikola Mirotic 16 points 11 rebounds
-Ian Clark 10 points
The Portland Trail Blazers top scorer was CJ McCollum with 19 points followed by Damian Lillard with 18 points 7 assists & 7 rebounds.
New Orleans leads the series 1-0 as the home court advantage slides to the Pelicans. This game could most certainly could have gone the other way but the Pels have proven to us that they are mentally resilient.
The next move I would like to see if this team possess the killer instinct needed to step on a team.They must take the Trail Blazers out now that they have an advantage.
The Pels by winning game two Tuesday could dampen the Blazers spirits moving forward. I think game two will be a lot more difficult as Lillard & McCollum will not shoot as bad as they did in-game one, be on your guard New Orleans Portland will not go down easy.