2018 SeasonAll times ET

2018 Schedule
49-33, 1st in Northwest
Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports
2hMike Triplett

Lillard: Blazers must take fight back to Pelicans

The Trail Blazers haven't done enough to stem the tide of confidence the Pelicans have fed into in taking a 3-0 lead in their first round playoff series, Damian Lillard says.

1:23

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Damian Lillard has been embarrassing NBA defenders consistently since he entered the league six years ago. But Lillard says he has never seen the coverages New Orleans has shown him in these playoffs. Lillard, who has shot the ball at a .327 clip in this series, while hitting only 8-25 from deep, turned the ball over 8 times in game 3. He is averaging a subpar 18.3 ppg in the series after putting up nearly 27 points per contest in the regular season. I asked him whether the Pelicans smothering defense has shaken his confidence. Here is his reply:

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Rajon Rondo says Nikola Mirotic is in a much better place in New Orleans than he was when the two were teammates in Chicago. Mirotic, who sustained a fractured face and a concussion in a preseason altercation with Bulls' teammate Bobby Portis, scored a game high 30 in the Pelicans' game 3 win over Portland. While many teammates insist Mirotic's success can be traced directly to his decision to shave his beard a couple of weeks ago, Rondo offers a different explanation. He says "it's all about the energy around Niko."

0:21

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

New Orleans point guard Rajon Rondo raved about the growth of Anthony Davis, calling him the best communicator on defense he has played with since Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. "Early in the year he didn't say a lot. Now he has learned what to say, what not to say." Rondo explained that Davis' contributions to the team go beyond what most observers realize, saying for us "he is easily the defensive player of the year."

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry says despite leading the series 3-0 his team has "appropriate fear" about the Blazers, a team that won 13 straight recently. When I asked him how he designs a game plan against complacency, Gentry talked about how Rajon Rondo has warned his New Orleans teammates that the Pelicans have no room and no interest in another trip to Portland.

Pelicans make it look easy in Game 3 (0:57)
Stotts calls turnovers 'mind-boggling' (0:47)
0:47

Mike Triplett ESPN Staff Writer 

Coach Terry Stotts said there were a lot of problems for the Trail Blazers in Thursday night's loss to the Pelicans — including some "mind-boggling" turnovers that he hadn't seen before.

Davis, Mirotic spur Pelicans to 3-0 series lead (1:20)

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

When asked why Nikola Mirotic (30 points) has been such a revelation this postseason, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said "Gillette. Give them the credit. Maybe it will get him a sponsorship." Gentry is referring to the fact that Mirotic has played his best basketball since shaving his thick beard earlier this month. As a matter of fact it's become quite a thing now as teammates will not allow Mirotic to have that 5 O'clock shadow. In Portland, Mirotic sent Pelicans' rookie Charles Cook to buy an electric razor so that Mirotic could get rid of the stubble.

19h

Mirotic, Davis lead Pelicans to 3-0 series lead over Blazers

Nikola Mirotic scored a career playoff-best 30 points to go with eight rebounds, three steals and a block, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-102 on Thursday night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round...

Mike Triplett ESPN Staff Writer 

And this one is officially over in New Orleans (though it has felt that way for the last quarter and a half). Pelicans 119, Trail Blazers 102. And now the Pelicans have a chance to sweep the series at home on Saturday. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the sixth-seeded Pelicans are the highest seed to take a 3-0 lead in a NBA playoff series since the 2001 Hornets.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Anthony Davis scared an entire metropolis there as he took a hard fall and clutched his right rib. Davis got to his feet and converted a pair of free throws. He is fine.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Just when they were buried in a 25 point hole, Portland blazes its way to 10 points in 64 seconds. Gentry forced to use another time out. 75-60 Pels with 5:15 to play in the 3rd.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Blazers come out of the locker room with the kind of desperation that will be needed to save their season. Jusuf Nurkic was active and energized. Maurice Harkless canned a wide open 3 on a dish from Nurkic after he snagged an offensive rebound. Alvin Gentry uses an early time out to settle the troops. Looks like that worked. Pelicans got two quick hoops to restore an 18 point advantage.

Mike Triplett ESPN Staff Writer 

The cross-country trip back to New Orleans did nothing to cool off the red-hot Pelicans, who are threatening to take a 3-0 lead over the Trail Blazers with a 64-45 halftime lead. Forward Nikola Mirotic is on pace for a career-high scoring night with 21 points, and Anthony Davis has eight rebounds to go with 12 points. The Blazers' 37.2 shooting percentage and12 turnovers haven't helped their cause.

Rondo's deep 3 forces Blazers' timeout (0:33)

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

The Pelicans have 7 steals already and are creating transition baskets and thus a double digit lead in game 3. C.J. McCollum has as many turnovers (2) as he does points. Portland has committed 9 miscues.

Davis leaves game with left thumb injury (0:18)

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Anthony Davis has returned to the game and it appears the wrist is fine. He is already wrestling Blazers for the basketball.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

A change of venue has not changed the fortunes of slumping Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum who missed both of his attempts and has yet to score in game 3 as the contest moves to the second quarter with New Orleans up 16.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Anthony Davis has returned to the floor after a short trip to the locker room for an apparent wrist injury. While he was away his Pelicans went on an 11-0 run and have gashed the Portland defense. After one- Pelicans 36 Blazers 20

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Pelicans C Anthony Davis just left the floor for the New Orleans locker room late in the first quarter. Davis was favoring his hand for a few possessions and appears to have possibly sustained a wrist injury.

Mark Schwarz ESPN Reporter 

Blazers unable to get easy looks inside and so 12 of their first 19 attempts were from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Nikola Mirotic continues to make them pay at both ends. Mirotic is engaged and active and has hit 5 of his first 6 shots.

Team Stats

Points Per Game105.616th
Rebounds Per Game45.5Tied-3rd
Assists Per Game19.530th
Points Allowed103.05th

2017 Draft Picks

RD(PK)PLAYERPOSSCHOOL
1(15)Justin JacksonSFNorth Carolina
1(20)Harry GilesPFDuke
1(26)Caleb SwaniganPFPurdue

Team History

YEARWLPCT
2017-184933.598
2016-174141.500
2015-164438.537
2014-155131.622
2013-145428.659