Credit should be given to the Pelicans and their ability to fully harness their talent and impose their will in the series. His three-point play cut the margin in half and his next two field goals got Miami within one each time. They didn't have an answer for those three.
While GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts have been to the playoffs for five straight seasons, there's no spinning this defeat.
Beyond that, though, Lillard's surrounding cast wasn't up to the task against the Pelicans.
Lillard also disagrees with the suggestion that the Blazers may be better off breaking up his backcourt pairing with CJ McCollum.
The Pelicans cruised passed the Blazers in four games, but it's not as if Portland is a bad team.More news: PS Plus Gets Beyond Two Souls and Rayman Legends This May
"It would have been easy for everybody to tuck their tails behind them, but I don't feel like they did that". Game 4 in San Antonio.
Even young Zach Collins made a case for himself - although it's too early in his career to expect that much of him.
Their defense never was able to slow the Pelicans' runaway train or seriously contest enough shots. "Then, you have your shooters like Darius (Miller), Ian (Clark) and E'Twaun (Moore) - they're playing well and shooting the hell out of the ball", Rondo said.
The Pelicans were certainly the better team in the first round against the Blazers, and their success has been one of the best stories in the league this season.
While each team's individual stars are the key in the playoffs, others can play "X factor" and make a timely difference.
Soon after, Nikola Mirotic added step-back 3.More news: Special New York Senate Elections Could Have Implications For Upstate
So, if you're reading this, you're wondering who the Pelicans will meet in the Western Conference semifinals. "I couldn't ask for a better duo right now, especially at the time of the game where we needed to get the ball in the hole". It did. We had our chances in Game 1, we had our chances in Game 2.
Those 49 regular-season wins were great. Many NBA observers and Pelicans fans were quick to point out that every ESPN NBA personality chose the Trail Blazers to win the series, as did select writers of the Basketball Insiders team.
And now Portland is in basically the same state it was in after the 2016-17 season - with Lillard and McCollum in their prime but surrounded by question marks at the forward spots, in particular.
Game 4, April 7: New Orleans won its first game in three years against the Warriors with a 126-120 win at Oracle Arena.
Help must come from the front office.More news: Matt Kenseth returns to NASCAR
And Portland was left with little else, although McCollum played like a champ Saturday (38 points on 15/22 shooting), and both Nurkic (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Aminu (27 points, six rebounds) contributed. But one can bet they won't be all that happy to have to play against him.