Portland Trailblazers (22-5) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (11-13)
I have to start the post with the obligatory Scarface scene that is also my favorite scene in the movie…
While Tony Montana rooted for the Pelicans (that really look like flamingos?) The Trailblazers returned home after a successful 3-1 road trip in front of a loud and packed Friday night crowd. The Pelican’s record does not accurately portray how good they are since Davis (arguably their best player) has missed some games this season. The Blazers, coming off a good amount of rest, were up for the challenge of Davis tonight though. A side-story of this game was which second year player is better… Lillard or Davis? Most people would argue for Davis head and shoulders but he has been often injured and Lillard has made more than a name for himself during Davis’ absences. In yet another close game the Trailblazers come out on top.
The first quarter saw the Pelicans jump to an early lead and hold it throughout most of the quarter. The Pelican guards were gashing the defense and the bigs were grabbing lots of rebounds. On the Blazers side of the ball they could not hit any open shots and could not click until the last few minutes. With the Pelicans vastly out-shooting and out-rebounding, the Blazers were extremely lucky to only be down by five at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter saw a lot more of the same. The Blazers were missing open three’s, starting 1-11 for the game. They also could not get a body on the Pelicans and watched them grab plenty of offense rebounds. The Blazers made a couple of pushes while Austin Rivers was in and trailed the Pelicans until Lillard hit a deep three with less than a minute remaining to give them their first lead of the game. The push started with about three minutes left in the half after they decided to finally rebound and get the Pelicans in foul trouble. However, the Blazers let Davis grab another offense put-back in the waning seconds and went into the locker room down by one.
The start of the third quarter the Blazers finally played like the better team. They hit open jump shots, played great defense and rebounded the ball. Loose balls fell in their laps and the Pelicans had to take a time-out when they fell down by ten. However, Eric Gordon woke up and Anthony Davis had some flashy plays as the Pelicans crawled back and trailed by only five at the end of the third.
Most of the fourth quarter saw the Blazers play Blazers basketball as they went up by ten. However, a silly turnover gave the Pelicans life and they fought back to tie the game up 101-101. A stat flashed on the screen and the Blazers were still out-rebounding the Pelicans, which was surprising.
Davis’ fourth quarter explosion gave the Pelicans the lead with less than three minutes to play. The Blazers have been a great team in the last three minutes of games this season and needed another hot finish to win. Davis continued to ball and the Pelicans defense was swarming all over Lillard and the Blazers were forced to call timeout down two with two minutes left. Lillard hit his sweet spot 30-footer and the Blazers took the lead. The Pelicans had two gimme baskets but the ball went in and out twice! Wesley hit a lay-up and the Pelicans duplicated. Batum hit two pressure free throws to take the lead back to three with just seconds left. Anderson took a VERY contested three and missed but the Pelicans got the rebound and had a great look that rimmed out and the Blazers won!
- I am really surprised by (1) how good Davis is as a twenty year-old player, and (2) how well Lopez defended him for the first three quarters.
- I think if I wasn’t a Blazers fan I would be a Pelicans fan. Davis, Tyreke, Anderson, Gordon, and Holiday are all extremely exciting players.
- Is it just me or do opposing point guards try to outshine Lillard every time they play against him? Lillard is obviously stealing some thunder as a second year player.
- Without looking at the stats of the last several games, I feel like this must have been a much better ‘points in the paint’ battle for the Blazers. (It would not surprise me if they have not won that battle all season long).
- Seeing Lopez shove Tyreke out of their huddle and have fire in his eyes all game was really entertaining.
- Lillard had another monster game. Aldridge was steady but not accurate. Batum had a very Batum line (11-8-7).
- The bench was nothing spectacular but Meyers played ten minutes and the Blazers still won; so that is a plus.