It seemed from the start that the Pelicans had the Blazers figured defensively. The Blazers didn’t have any answer for Davis. No tears Pels fans, but could you imagine how hard they would be to stop if DeMarcus Cousins was healthy? (Typed as I shed a good tear). Anyway, the Blazers shot selection was decent but Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were awful to put it lightly.
Helping the Pelicans dearly
Those two combined to score 37 points on 13 of 41 shooting for a terrible 32 percent shooting on the game. They shot 8 of 19 from 3-point range which means that those two shot 22.7 percent from inside the 3-point line. That’s pretty bad to say the least.
The Blazers did outrebound the Pelicans, 52-49, but AD had 14 rebounds that included just two offensive rebounds. The Pels also passed the ball much better than the Blazers as they recorded 26 assists to Portland’s 17. Playoff Rajon Rondo was on full display as he had 17 assists himself which tied the entire Blazers team. Lillard did have seven assists but that never translated to the scoreboard.
How the Pelicans can repeat Game 1
That won’t be easy in the least. Rondo’s 17 assists will most likely not happen twice but he has opened up the offense in a way most didn’t imagine. Nikola Mirotic was fantastic in Game 1 as he scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had four blocked shots. He was just the spacing Davis needs at times to succeed.
Jrue Holiday was that dude as well. He had 21 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Doesn’t seem like much but that coupled with a great defensive performance was exactly what they needed.
The bench was outscored 27-15 which was a big difference in that first game.
Despite all that greatness and bad stuff, the Pelicans will need to play much better down the stretch. They led 75-65 after three quarters and almost coughed the game up in the last moments of the game. That is concerning but a win is a win for the Pelicans. Going up 1-0 on the road is always important. The Pelicans will need continued great performances from these key starters and bench players.