The Portland Trail Blazers claimed the number 3 seed and faced off against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round and to only get swept, the Trail Blazers lost their first two home games before losing in a sweep 131-123 on Sunday and which Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday both combined for 88 points while Rajon Rondo dished 16 assists.
So the fact that New Orleans consistently gets buckets gives them a chance.
MINNEAPOLIS - Jimmy Butler hit four three-pointers among his 28 points and Karl-Anthony Towns snapped back from a bad start to the series with 18 points and 16 rebounds, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Houston Rockets in Game 3 for their first postseason victory in 14 years.
During the playoffs, the Pelicans have the best offensive rating and second best net rating. Since the Pelicans fell to 28-26 on February 9 and many counted them entirely out of playoff consideration, all they've done is go 22-8, including a thoroughly dominating sweep of the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers.
It is quite possible the Golden State Warriors will be without Steph Curry once again in the second round.
The Pelicans will play the victor of the Golden State/San Antonio series in the West semifinals.
And that's a role the Pelicans relish. "Like Anthony said it's just a part of all of our legacies here to try to build something and continually build on it". "I think they really deserve it and at the end of the day we are not just happy to be going to the second round". "We expected more from ourselves, and we saw things going in a different direction than they did".
The words aren't empty. "We knew we had to play our best game of the series", head coach Alvin Gentry said. With everything we went through this season with injuries and trades and all of that. "To sweep a great team like Portland...everybody counted us out. We didn't play well enough to get it done". "And we can just stick to our game plan and be true to ourselves". They'd go on to make a run to the Stanley Cup Final; we'll see if the Pelicans can repeat that kind of "nobody believed in us!" success.
But after four consecutive losses late in the year, New Orleans found its season on the brink of extinction.
The Pelicans center had just converted a layup as he fell to the court after a hard foul. Because really, you need to have two of three on to win. It's a position the Pelicans have gotten used to. "So that shows a lot of character, and I'm proud of each one of these guys". Davis and Holiday had to raise their games, and have come through beyond expectations. This team and this franchise do not look like they are ready to compete for a title as Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum has always claimed for the past year. The Blazers never came close to finding an effective strategy to stop him: Davis was simply too long, too quick, too versatile and too relentless. The Magic are much further away from winning than the Blazers ever were in his tenure there.