Updates with details. With AP Photos.
A throng of red-clad, leather-lunged Pelican fanatics packed the Smoothie King Center for Game 3 of the New Orleans Pelicans' Western Conference series with the Portland Trail Blazers. CJ McCollum scored 22 for the Trail Blazers.
After Rondo knocked down a 3-pointer to push New Orleans' lead to 46-26. Jrue Holiday was once again the hero as he led the way on both ends of the floor with 33 points and nine assists. New Orleans has now won eight straight games, five in the regular season and three playoff games.
"It was unbelievable with this crowd", said Mirotic. "I was just trying to play simple". A fraction of that will keep the Blazers competitive against the Pelicans, but the Blazers will need to develop an inside presence to take on a large Pelicans team. It's just about the team.
The Pelicans did something in Game 3 that Portland couldn't do in either of the first two meetings: defend home court. As Portland turned the ball over or missed low-percentage attempts, New Orleans consistently found the open man for easy buckets. "We arguably had one of our worst games of the year, so it was a bad combination".
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Anthony Davis had 28 points and 11 rebounds. Game 4 will tip off at 4:00. The closest it came was down 14, and that was within the first two minutes of the third quarter. Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic twisted his right ankle late in Game 2.
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The Pelicans made plenty of shots all game long, hitting 52.9 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range. I would expect for Portland to literally bring everything they have for Saturday's game. "This is a different coverage than I've seen at any point in my career". I don't expect for Portland to be the first.
The Trail Blazers did nothing to silence the place, shooting about 35 percent and committing six turnovers in the opening quarter.
Trail Blazers: Starting F Evan Turner was scratched because of his toe injury sustained during Game 2 on Tuesday night. He finished 5 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Aminu could be in store for another big fantasy night after dropping 14 points and 15 boards in Game 2.
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Did the Pelicans try to acquire Mirotic before the Cousins injury?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 volume was high early with the crowd revved up for the first playoff game in New Orleans since 2015. In a virtual must-win situation, Portland only stayed competitive for a handful of minutes.
New Orleans broke a 16-16 tie with a 20-2 surge for a 36-18 lead.
Unlike in this series' first two games, Portland couldn't cut a double-digit deficit in the second half into a single digits in the fourth quarter.
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