For the first time since 2011, the Portland Trail Blazers (50-28) are making another postseason appearance as they beat a talented and annoying New Orleans Pelicans team (32-45) at the Moda Center on Sunday night 100-94.
Along with the clenched seed, the Blazers also tacked on 50 wins for the season. 50 wins. That’s a 17-game improvement from last season.
The first half was frustrating for Portland as they gladly allowed New Orleans to hang out and shoot a very alarming 60 percent from the field. Robin Lopez got into deep foul trouble early and sat out the entire second quarter. Anthony Davis was automatic from all ends of the floor and the Pelicans eventually took a double-digit lead. The Blazers cut it back to single digits at halftime but there were lingering questions whether or not the Blazers could clinch a postseason spot and allow it to slip away just two nights ago like Phoenix did.
Portland responded out of the locker room on a tear, outscoring the Pelicans 29-14 in the third and rode that lead all the way home. Give credit to New Orleans who came back with 50 seconds left in the game down four off a three-point shot from Anthony Morrow, but they couldn’t capitalize on four open chances in the last seconds to nail a three and foul.
LaMarcus Aldridge lead the charge with 25 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Damian Lillard had 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and five one-handed dunks down open lanes. Wesley Matthews had 21 points, five rebounds and Nicolas Batum with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
NOW GO. GO CELEBRATE AND HUG THOSE CLOSE TO YOU BECAUSE THE BLAZERS ARE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!
Tickets for the first round will go on sale tomorrow morning, April 7, at 10am on the Blazers ticket website.