Pelicans hold off Blazers 97-95 in Game 1

Charlene Craig
April 17, 2018

The Pelicans and Blazers split four head-to-head meetings during the regular season.

When DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury, the Pelicans' playoff hopes appeared to go with him.

The regular season ended Wednesday night for the Spurs, but their losing streak on the road continued. They will need to find a way to minimize Portland's rebounding as the Trail Blazers collected 15 offensive boards in game one. The Pelicans offense is full of danger for opposing defenses, and all starters except for Rajon Rondo are more than capable of putting up big numbers. The Pelicans covered the spread as 5.5-point underdogs and paid money-line bettors +190.

At least, that's the way it seemed for most of the game as Portland struggled mightily while the Pelicans took control. Things won't be so easy in the playoffs though. They are allowing an average of 110.4 points, placing them 29th overall.

How does Davis deal with playoffs?

Despite the 25-year-old's dominance, the biggest play of the night was made by Jrue Holiday.

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Darrell Wallace Jr., who also decided to make a stop under the caution, was penalized during the stops for speeding on pit road. Brad Keselowski led once for 13 laps to win Stage 1, vaulting to the front when Blaney, his Team Penske teammate, crashed out.

Spurs: Prepare for a first-round playoff matchup against defending champion Golden State. They were routed 4-0, but it was through no fault of Davis. Holiday got his game-high 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum sparked Portland's comeback with 34 of their combined 37 points coming after halftime, but it wasn't quite enough to put the Trail Blazers over the top. Damian Lillard has been on fire since the All-Star break this year, although to be fair, he's been on fire all season.

Rondo took only 9 shots, but dominated the game in several ways, finishing with 17 assists and 8 rebounds.

The league rescheduled it and caused the Pelicans to play three games in three nights. At the other end of the floor, Holiday has been proving a handful this season.

The Blazers appeared to be on the verge of completing a sly inbounds play as Pat Connaughton snuck in to receive the pass from Evan Turner in the paint. "Anthony Davis has been an outstanding player".

On Dec. 2, the Pelicans beat the Blazers in Portland while shooting 48.4 percent from three.

It's his tongue-in-cheek way of describing the National Basketball Association schedule makers whenever the regular season schedule is announced.

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After Shea Theodore's goal 3:23 into the first period, it turned into a defensive battle with a hint of goaltending. The Los Angeles Kings have allowed three or less goals in 10 of their last 12 games.

The Pelicans led, 27-26, after the first quarter and Mirotic made his first two 3-pointers and finished the period with eight points. SportsLine will have game-by-game gambling advice for every playoff series here.

But hey, it isn't the first time the "computer" didn't do the Pels any favors this season. "It's been a tough matchup for us, games are close".

This will be a good one. "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". Davis, at last, gets another chance to show his mettle in the playoffs, and he will handle it with aplomb to average over 30 points, 12 boards, two steals and three blocks over the course of the series. I'm going to go with the hotter team right now and that is the Pelicans.

Why will the Blazers win?

Now, Davis faces another challenge: leading the sixth-seeded Pelicans past the No. 3 Trail Blazers for the franchise's first postseason series victory since 2008.

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Authorities believe Devonte, 15, Hannah, 16, and Sierra, 12, may have been in the vehicle and were swept out to sea. A Mendocino County Sheriff's Office spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking information.

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