Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Portland at New Orleans
When: 5:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 21, 2018
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are one victory away from completing a stunning yet dominating four-game sweep. The sixth-seeded Pelicans look to finish off their demolition of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday when the Western Conference first-round series resumes in New Orleans.

New Orleans dismantled the Trail Blazers in Game 3 and led by as many as 33 points in the convincing 119-102 victory. Coach Alvin Gentry and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo both emphasized that the Pelicans need to close it out in Game 4 as the franchise looks to reach the second round for the first time since 2008. Portland seemingly has no answers on how to stop New Orleans and is focused on avoiding the sweep and then letting things play out. "We've got to figure it out," shooting guard CJ McCollum told reporters. "Dig deep, understand that it still can be a long series if we can get a win here and get back home."

TV:
5 p.m. ET, TNT, NBCS Northwest (Portland), FS New Orleans

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS: The guard-oriented offense isn't working well with star Damian Lillard struggling and McCollum's 9-of-16 shooting in Game 3 representing his best effort of the series. McCollum scored 22 points in Game 3 and is averaging 21 in the series, while Lillard scored a series-high 20 in Game 3 but is a dismal 18-of-55 shooting through three games. "As much as they've played well and we haven't, three games to zero, that doesn't mean that it's over with," Lillard insisted to reporters on Friday. "That don't mean that we walk around here defeated. We just gotta get one. The series can change after one game, especially going back home."

ABOUT THE PELICANS:
Forward Nikola Mirotic is enjoying a superb series and is averaging 21 points after exploding for 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting in Game 3. Mirotic has made 11 3-pointers while averaging nine rebounds, 2.3 blocked shots and 1.7 steals in the series and the Trail Blazers seem to have no answer on how to handle the trio of Davis, guard Jrue Holiday and Mirotic, who was acquired from the Chicago Bulls at the end of January after DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) was lost for the season. "I knew I was capable to have games like this, but I never want to force any shots and always want to play simple, play for my teammates the same way they play for me," Mirotic told reporters after Game 3. "I just want to show them they were right to bring me here."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Davis is averaging 28.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.3 steals in the series.

2. Portland swingman Evan Turner (toe) is questionable after missing Game 4.

3. New Orleans recorded 16 steals while forcing 24 turnovers in Game 3.

PREDICTION: Pelicans 115, Trail Blazers 110
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Portland 49-36 L3 28-15 21-21 1-1 48-35 9-7 31-24
New Orleans 51-34 W8 25-17 26-17 4-4 47-30 9-7 30-25
Last Meeting
Portland New Orleans
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/19/18 POR 102 NO 119 102 44 46.2 119 38 52.9
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland C. McCollum 22 56.2 2
New Orleans N. Mirotic 30 80.0 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland A. Aminu 8 4 4
New Orleans A. Davis 11 2 9
Assists Player  
Portland M. Harkless 4
New Orleans R. Rondo 11
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 2113 43.6 530
New Orleans A. Davis 2277 53.0 552
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland J. Nurkic 754 204 550
New Orleans A. Davis 904 206 698
Assists Player  
Portland D. Lillard 513
New Orleans R. Rondo 578
Quickchart Matchup
Portland Portland Off vs  New Orleans New Orleans Defense
Portland Off vs New Orleans - Points For 105.4 Points For
Portland Off vs New Orleans - Points Against 110.0 Points Against
Portland - FG% 45.1 FG%
New Orleans - FG% 45.3 FG%
Portland - Reb 45.5 Reb
New Orleans - Reb 45.5 Reb
New Orleans New Orleans Off vs  Portland Portland Defense
New Orleans Off vs Portland - Points For 111.6 Points For
New Orleans Off vs Portland - Points Against 103.2 Points Against
New Orleans - FG% 48.4 FG%
Portland - FG% 44.9 FG%
New Orleans - Reb 44.3 Reb
Portland - Reb 42.9 Reb