Pelicans Seal First Round Series Over Portland In A Sweep
Fans packed the Smoothie King Center Saturday afternoon in New Orleans, expecting the home team to punch their ticket to the second round of the playoffs. Expectations were met.
The red hot New Orleans Pelicans completed their first playoff sweep in franchise history, closing out the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday 131-123.
In one of the biggest games in team history, it was stars Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday who shinned brightest, combining for 88 points in the win.
"I thought Jrue and AD (Davis) stepped up big," said Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry. "We also had other guys that had timely baskets and timely things for us."
A chippy game with several technical fouls, the Pelicans refused to back down, matching the physicality and feeding off their offense to close the door on Portland.
"Hats off to New Orleans," said Portland head coach Terry Stotts. "They played really well. Their stars really put on a show tonight."
Davis finished the game with 47 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.
"In a close out game, with the magnitude of the situation, this has probably been the best game he's played since I've been here," said Gentry of Davis. "He just was not gonna let us lose."
The team that did has plenty of respect for Davis' incredible play.
"I congratulated him," said Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard of Anthony Davis. "I wish their success hadn't come against us, but at the end of the day, as a competitor, you can't be a poor sport when things don't go your way. You have to give credit where it's due."
Lillard was held in check the entire series, thanks in large part to a defensive gameplan by New Orleans. A big part of that game plan was guard Jrue Holiday.
Holiday ended game four with 41 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds.
"It was fun. It was good to win at home and close the series out," said Davis. "The crowd was in it all night, both games. Now we've got to get ready for the second round."
Championship winning veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who showed the world he's still one of the smartest player on the planet, had high praise for his star teammates.
"I've played with a lot of great players," said Rondo. "I see these two guys every night what they do when I go back and watch film. It's amazing what they do....They're both great teammates. They're both great people off the court."
New Orleans awaits the winner of the Golden State versus San Antonio series in the second round. The Warriors hold a 3-0 lead over the Spurs and have won every game by double-digits. Game 4 of that series is tomorrow.
It will mark the second time in franchise history the Pelicans play in the quarterfinals. In 2008, the New Orleans Hornets lost in the second round in 7 games to the San Antonio Spurs.