Time's up for Damian Lillard
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 21, 2018,
Apr 21, 2018, 23:36
It feels great of course, we got to win, we have 3-0 but we know its not over. Sign up for RG Newsletters and get the news delivered directly to your inbox. Jrue Holiday had 33 points in game two. Holiday has also been brilliant defensively, particularly when tasked with guarding Damian Lillard. According to NBA.com, Lillard has missed 16 of the 18 shots he's attempted with Holiday guarding him in the series. Portland has had all kinds of trouble in the series and at this point, they're going to have to prove that they can win in order to be taken seriously. He was just 1-for-7 from behind the arc, his lone three-pointer leading to a four-point play that tied the score with 7:31 remaining. Still, the Blazers should be encouraged that they only lost Game 1 by a handful of points.
New Orleans isn't doing anything that Lillard hasn't seen before - they're sending traps when he runs a pick-and-roll near the sideline, and trusting their guards to contain him when he drives, forcing him into hard shots over Davis or kicking the ball out to teammates. "It's as simple as that".
Besides Al-Farouq Aminu, every Blazers player is struggling from the field, contributing to the lower points per game.
"But as much as they've played well and we haven't, three games to zero, that doesn't mean that it's over with". Although they were only one game ahead, they are 3 seeds ahead in the number 3 slot. Portland was out of this one in a hurry as they failed to take care of the ball and allowed New Orleans a slew of easy baskets and good looks. Although Anthony Davis was the leader of New Orleans' late-season charge, Holiday was right behind him, averaging 19 points and 7 assists on 50 percent shooting post all-star break.
The 32-year-old Rondo, playing for his fifth National Basketball Association team, continues to reinforce his reputation as a clutch playoff performer after finishing with 17 assists in Game 1.
"I don't think (defensive assistant coach) Darren Erman has gotten the credit that he deserves", Gentry said. While many saw the Pelicans as catching lightening in a bottle, the guys in the locker room saw themselves as just taking care of business.
For example, the turnover where Holiday was able to steal the ball at halfcourt - Lillard has been dribbling towards him, while Holiday sizes him up as he approaches. "In those situations, I like his chances".
INJURY UPDATE: Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was limited to only 15 minutes in Game 2 because of a left leg contusion, while forward Evan Turner is questionable with a right toe contusion. One can't help but wonder if New Orleans had their eye on Mirotic prior to the injury to Cousins or if this was a reaction move by Pelicans GM Dell Demps. Lillard believes that grit and tenacity are the factors that have gone New Orleans' way in the first three games of the series. "We arguably had one of our worst games of the year, so it was a bad combination".
With Game 4 on the horizon, the Blazers have their backs against the wall and can not lose.
"It's easy math", Stotts said. Portland is 1-4 ATS in its last five games at New Orleans.