Brooms out: Pelicans sweep Portland, 1st playoff series win in a decade

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Eight days later, the teams appear a world apart.

The 76ers lead the Eastern Conference series 3-1 and can close out the Heat when play resumes in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The Trail Blazers fell behind early in part because CJ McCollum went scoreless in the opening period, although his 14 points in the second quarter couldn't stop the deficit from swelling. "But it's the reality".

"Everything we went through this season, from big injuries to trades and all that. they were sleeping on us", Holiday said.

New Orleans shot the ball well from three (while Portland did not), held onto the ball (while Portland did not) and saw its stars take over the game offensively (which Portland's did not).

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"But they played a great series, you've got to give them credit for how they executed offensively". Lillard has faced, and scored on, just about every kind of defense in his superlative career, but he acknowledged he has been unprepared for how the Pelicans have kept the screener's defender, often 7-footer Anthony Davis, in his path while Lillard's own defender catches up. But given how they've played lately, another upset bid isn't entirely out of the question - particularly with Curry's injury casting doubt on when he'll return and how effective he'll be. "And I thought tonight, we showed a lot of fight". "They played really well", Portland coach Terry Stotts said.

So the fact that New Orleans consistently gets buckets gives them a chance. Committed 14 turnovers, with Holiday committing seven. "I might get a little irritated and a little frustrated, but taking my confidence away - that's gonna be much harder than what they've done".

Simmons was the only player on either side to score in the first two minutes of the fourth as he promptly tied the score. The closest it came was down 14, and that was within the first two minutes of the third quarter. The Pelicans made 17 of their 20 2-point attempts in the first half.

"I've seen him completely take over games, and I know what kind of competitor he is", Gentry said. "So it was a bad combination".

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Lillard, who never scored more than 20 in a game and was held below that three times, said he would have loved to shoot more, but the Pelicans' commitment to defend him early in possessions with multiple players made it hard.

Meanwhile, New Orleans closed the regular season with five straight wins. "I couldn't imagine what it's like going all those years not being able to compete in the postseason when you're that level of player", Lillard said. Pile on the finest playoff performance of Mirotic's four National Basketball Association seasons, and the rout was on in Game 3. And I think you have to in these situations.

As Rondo correctly envisioned way back in the fall, the ceiling for New Orleans is higher than that of a team that should just be happy to be here in the playoffs, content to go on vacation after putting up a mild fight against a superior opponent.

Portland's ninth consecutive playoff loss unraveled quickly.

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After getting outplayed in Game 3, the Blazers said they didn't care if they got in foul trouble in Game 4, they have to be more physical. New Orleans chopped Golden State's lead to six points with 3:26 remaining in regulation, but the Warriors scored 10 unanswered to shut the door in another win. Game 4 is Monday at Salt Lake City.