Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Late-Game Rally Falls Short in Game 1 Loss to Pelicans

Late-Game Rally Falls Short in Game 1 Loss to Pelicans

Jrue Holiday added 21 points, outplaying both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and had a big blocked shot in the closing seconds as New Orleans held on after Portland erased nearly all of a 19-point deficit. The Portland Trail Blazers and the New Orleans Pelicans meet on Saturday night in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.

Nikola Mirtotic's 17 first-half points and Jrue Holiday's 12 led the first-half charge while Rajon Rondo revved up the tempo by dishing eight of his 14 assists before intermission.

Lillard finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while McCollum had 19 points. The two teams faced off four times during the regular season, splitting the series 2-2.

The Pelicans still led by 13 with 5:08 left, but wouldn't score again for more than two and a half minutes. But late this season, he shaved his beard, joined the starting lineup and he's been thriving ever since, scoring no fewer than 21 points in a game during the Pelicans' season-ending five-game winning streak. There was no stopping an attack led by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, which propelled this team to victory.

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The main concern for the Blazers is how to limit Anthony Davis, who has been on a tear of late.

New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry doesn't believe in coasting into the playoffs. "He's a really bright player". I've obviously had the opportunity to coach Steph (Curry), Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Grant Hill.

Though his season was cut short due to a torn left Achilles, New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins managed to pull off a feat only achieved by one other player in National Basketball Association history. I also think he has a way of giving confidence to the other guys. "They came out and supported us and they were here all seasons through the ups and downs and we wanted to make sure we came out and finished strong for them".

If the Pelicans want to win the series, they'll need help around Davis. Terry Stotts said that he would begin the series with Jusuf Nurkic, who did not see much time on Davis in the regular season, on the All-Star big man.

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