Davis, Pelicans grab opener at Portland

Three keys to the Blazers first-round playoff series against the Pelicans

Building off his strong finish to the regular season, Davis had 35 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 97-95 Game 1 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers split the season series with the Pelicans, winning the first matchup in October 103-93 and the final meeting in March 107-103.

New Orleans will play Portland in Game 2 on Tuesday, April 17th at 10:30 P.M ET. A hostile, raucous home crowd gained steam behind an up-tempo, relentless Pelicans attack that took an early lead and never let it slip away. McCollum also shot poorly (7/18) and had just 19 points. Jusuf Nurkic scored 11 points to go with 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo played a key role in Saturday's win.

Lillard knocked down a 3-pointer to draw Portland within 77-70 with 9:06 remaining.

Lillard finished with 18 points (on 6/23 field goals), seven rebounds and seven assists. The Pelicans previously lost DeMarcus Cousins, Alexis Ajinca and Frank Jackson to season-ending injuries. The visitors managed to pull this one off thanks to a game-saving block courtesy of Jrue Holiday.

The Warriors need to guard against the return of complacency game-to-game - especially if they have a couple of easy wins in a series in a row - but for one day that question was put to rest.

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New Orleans started 3-10 from the field, with Davis responsible for two of the makes, yet only trailed by four midway through the first quarter thanks to Portland's own cold shooting. They are allowing an average of 110.4 points, placing them 29th overall. The Blazers knew their opponent before the game with the Jazz.

They combined to score three points on 1-of-15 shooting, and the Blazers' offense looked putrid as it struggled to find alternate sources of production.

Then on the next play, the ball went to Pat Connaughton who was blocked at the rim by Jrue Holiday.

"It's great", said Pelicans guard Ian Clark, who had 11 points in the Pels' win. And with 12.4 seconds left, the Blazers had one more chance.

That means they can't afford to take a single night off. His MVP level performance from the regular season carried over and the Trail Blazers had no answer for him. They are a strong defensive team, holding the opposition to 103 points, good for fifth in the National Basketball Association. One of the smartest guys I've ever been around. The Trail Blazers did not play well in game one, however they still nearly managed to come back to win after falling behind 19 points in the third quarter. Obviously, that was a really big stop and at that moment it felt good to get a stop. It is not often Lillard shoots 26%, so I definitely anticipate a big bounce back game from the star, plus he has been a solid playoff performer in his career. However, through a tiebreaker with those two teams, Oklahoma City finished as the No. 4 seed, the Jazz clinched the No. 5 seed and the Pelicans sixth.

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