NBA Playoffs: Necessary adjustments for Pelicans, Blazers ahead of Game 2

NBA Playoffs: Necessary adjustments for Pelicans, Blazers ahead of Game 2

Portland would get no closer.

The Trail Blazers are 44-20 when they score more than 100 points, while the Pelicans are 47-22. While the Blazers got excellent production from role players Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins and Maurice Harkless, as well as 22 points from CJ McCollum, Lillard struggled to make the playoffs Dame time. He even did a reasonable job of containing Anthony Davis on defense. "Just going back and forth". The dominating center was a one man wrecking crew on the inside, willing the Pelicans to a 97-95 victory. Lillard had another slow start and fans could be heard grumbling as he missed several shots and seemed to lack his usual lift on drives to the hoop.

Portland led 35-30 after rookie Zach Collin's bank shot and the Blazers led by as many as nine points before taking a 59-54 lead into halftime. But if the Trail Blazers go smaller in their solutions this summer, we could be seeing the peak of what this roster led by Lillard and McCollum is capable of doing.

Look! It's Blazer dancers Lindsay and Erica.

"It was great", said Gentry of the sellout crowd.

Okay, back to the game.

Holiday struggled at times with injuries after coming to the Pelicans in 2013.

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Mirotic has scored 63 points in the three playoff wins, on 24 of 41 shooting. New Orleans jumped to a 16 point lead after the opening quarter and kept their lead in the double digits the rest of the way. It's hard to prepare for until you've seen it in person, and Blazers have seen it.

New Orleans looks unstoppable, and will try to complete the sweep in Saturday's Game 4 at home.

So, to live up to his modest $3.3-million contract this season, all Rondo had to do was provide defensive depth on the perimeter and keep feeding the ball to Davis (and pre-injury Cousins) whenever Holiday took a breather.

"This is probably the first time where the big is just staying". Lillard has instead tried to attack the less nimble Mirotic in pick-and-rolls, but he hasn't had much more success.

Davis' 3-pointer pushed the Pelicans lead to 75-68 midway through the third quarter. In game 2, the scoring as a whole improved, with all but 3 players who saw the floor scoring 10 points or more. Anthony Davis had another big game with 28 points, 11 boards, three steals and two blocks. Consider, for instance, that he finished the season tied for fifth in the NBA in * a href="http://stats.nba.com/players/hustle/?sort=LOOSE_BALLS_RECOVERED&dir=1&Season=2017-18&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&CF=G*GE*60" *loose balls recovered per game, with 1.6.

This experienced, well-coached Miami team has been a good first postseason test for Philly.

Availability hasn't been a problem for Lillard in this series - he's been on the bench for a combined 14 minutes over the first two games - but the Pelicans' defensive scheme is built to push that differential to its limits by making anyone else on the roster beat them when he is on the court. Of those 29, only 4 have gone on to win the series.

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