No. 6 seed Pelicans make National Basketball Association playoff history

by Jared Lewis April 26, 2018, 0:41
No. 6 seed Pelicans make National Basketball Association playoff history

After a period of reflection in Portland, there are going to be changes in the wake of this sweep.

Energized on both ends of the court, the Pelicans have the broom ready Saturday at the Smoothie King Center to sweep the faltering Portland Trail Blazers out of the Western Conference playoffs with a fourth consecutive victory in the first-round series.

"I'm not going to evaluate the job I did", Stotts said. "We just didn't play great".

And it ended with a bit of a bang; the Blazers showed some fight in Game 4.

Lillard's hard driving layup had just tied the game at 60 when the Pelicans briefly pulled away, going on an 11-2 run capped by Davis' 3.

When C.J. McCollum made a recent visit on USA TODAY Sports' NBA A to Z podcast, the fifth-year Portland guard made a valid point about the lack of accountability in sports media. Golden State thrives in small-ball situations, and while Green can't stop Davis, he'll make him work while the Warriors have the opportunity to jack up the pace and launch 3-pointers until New Orleans begs for mercy. The team's streak matched the franchise record. But fellow backcourt mate Damian Lillard, it's safe to say, will face all sorts of scrutiny for the way his season came to an end.

Simmons became the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to post a playoff triple-double - 17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists. He was named the West's player of the week twice. Holiday has ascended into one of the best on-ball perimeter defenders in the National Basketball Association, and New Orleans improved from 22nd in the league in defensive rating to fifth after the Cousins injury. And they came in with a great defensive game plan, they threw something at us that we hadn't seen and it worked out for them. We can all expect Draymond Green to play heavy minutes against The Brow, but who backs up Dray? We stuck together for the entire season. Each of them played at least 35 minutes in three of the four playoff games, with the only exception coming in a Game 3 blowout.

"There's always, you know, 'You can't win in a small market or you can't get noticed in a small market, ' but then you look at those guys and they've won and been well recognized in their respective teams", Davis said, referring to Miller and Duncan. It did. We had our chances in Game 1, we had our chances in Game 2. New Orleans had the momentum.

During their last five games, the Trail Blazers have scored an average of 104.8 points per game (0.8 below their season average) and allowed an average of 110.2 points per game (6.6 above their season average).

Already there were rumors regarding Stotts' future with the team, not to mention the status of several players.

"It's our job to be measured and not overreact", Olshey said.

Stunned. That would be one of the most apt ways to describe the reaction from the players during 2018 exit interviews held Sunday in Tualatin. Clearly Portland's attempt to feature its two premiere guards failed as the Pelicans were able to clamp down on Lillard and McCollum effectively in each game.


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