Paint the Town Red

Pelicans Doing It Bigger & Better

 

The NBA postseason brings out a different caliber of play in teams, and Exhibit A is the New Orleans Pelicans.

A week after starting their playoff campaign, sixth-seeded New Orleans is on the verge of sweeping the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. It’s a satisfying feeling for the Pelicans and their fans. After all, it’s been a decade since the franchise last won a playoff series, and the last time the team was is the postseason they were sent home winless by the ascendant Golden State Warriors.

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Despite needing nearly all 82 regular season games to secure their place in the postseason, the Pels have dominated their first-round matchup. Led by their backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the Blazers came into the series known for their stingy defense. Instead, the Pelicans are be-bopping their way up and down the court. What’s exciting is that maestro Anthony Davis, who has averaged 28.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game in this series, is getting spectacular supporting play from the other members of his hot five.

As New Orleans stole the first two games of the series on the road, Jrue Holiday played lights out on both ends of the court. In Tuesday’s 108–103 Pelicans win, he had 33 points and nine assists. At home for Game 3, Nikola Mirotic lit up the scoreboard with 30 points – 14 in the first quarter. He made 12 of his 15 shots (including four three pointers), helped the Pelicans get ahead by as much as 33, and sat out the fourth quarter as NOLA enjoyed a near 20-point cushion throughout the quarter. His effort helped the Pelicans to make 53 percent of their shots in the 119-102 win. The Pelicans signed Rajon Rondo in the offseason for his experience and leadership, especially in the postseason. The move is now paying off. On Thursday, he added 16 points and 11 assists.

When New Orleans takes the court tomorrow at four, they will have the opportunity to win their first playoff series in 10 years. And even if they don’t wrap it up on Saturday, fate may be on the Pelicans’ side as no team in NBA history has ever come back to win a series after being down three games to none.

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Basketball fans are excited about the possibility of seeing Davis, one of the game’s biggest stars, advance to the second round for the first time in his career. If the Pelicans advance, they will more than likely meet the second-seeded Warriors. In their 2015 playoff series Davis averaged 31.5 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks per game. If current trends hold, “The Brow” will have more help from his teammates than he did in his playoff debut. He will need it. Golden State is one of the best teams in the league, and despite a gimpy ankle, Steph Curry can takeover and dominate a game and series like few can.

For now, though, the focus needs to be on the job at hand. The air in the Crescent City is electric with excitement. New Orleanians love being able to support a playoff contender, especially one that makes them raid their broom closets.

The Pelicans are painting the town red. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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