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etvfutures.com April 25, 2018


Gayle Benson arrives for Pelicans' playoff opener against Blazers in Portland

15 April 2018, 01:19 | Sandy Nunez

Derick E. Hingle

Derick E. Hingle

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 No. 6-seeded New Orleans Pelicans face off with the No. 3-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round NBA Playoffs series Saturday night, beginning at 9:30 p.m.at the Moda Center (ESPN).

Up 19 late in the third quarter, the Pelicans allowed the Blazers to cut the lead to just one point in the final minute with two opportunities to take the lead.

Lillard finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while McCollum had 19 points.

The Pelicans and Blazers split their season series 2-2, each team winning once at home and once on the road. Mirotic hasn't scored fewer than 21 in any of New Orleans' past five games.

Blitzboks through to semi-finals, Fiji awaits
The Springbok Women's Sevens team suffered heavy defeats to Canada and New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games on Friday. The victor of that match will progress through to the semi-finals and the loser will be out of medal contention.


It looked like it would come easily, as the Pelicans extended a nine-point halftime lead to 69-50 on Holiday's dunk with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

And the throng of Pelicans' fans displayed their appreciation, standing and cheering as Holiday and Davis left the floor with more than three minutes remaining and cheering their way to the exits as the coronation was complete.

The main concern for the Blazers is how to limit Anthony Davis, who has been on a tear of late. "We wanted to try to dictate the tempo of game and I thought we did that, especially in the second quarter", Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said "We got out and ran and had good ball movement".

"I think that is all psycho-babble", he said. "But they have Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Rondo, E'Twaun Moore, they've got a lot of guys that make them a risky team".

Portland was just 5-7 to close the year, and with the Blazers expecting to make progress this season - that means at least a trip to the second round of the postseason - this series is a must-win. 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. Three players had a double-double, as well: Davis, Rondo and Nikola Mirotic.



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