Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Portland at New Orleans
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2018
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a resounding postseason start and aim to take a 3-0 series lead when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. Sixth-seeded New Orleans won the opening two games of the Western Conference first-round matchup at Portland and can take a commanding lead with another victory.

Guard Jrue Holiday scored a career playoff-best 33 points in Tuesday's 111-102 victory and coach Alvin Gentry cautioned his players not to get overly giddy following the contest. "We've still got to get two more wins, so we're not overly excited about anything," Gentry told reporters. "We're playing against a really, really well-coached great team. ... That was our message to the team and actually that was their message to each other, that we hadn't done anything yet." Portland star guard Damian Lillard was unable to get untracked in the first two games while coach Terry Stotts said his squad has to return serve by accumulating road wins. "We've got to win two games in New Orleans, and hopefully it's the next two," Stotts told reporters. "It's easy math - we've got to go and win two in New Orleans, and I feel we're very capable of winning both games."

TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCS Northwest (Portland), FS New Orleans

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS: Lillard averaged 26.9 points during the regular season but has struggled in this series with a 17.5 average on 13-of-41 shooting. "Coming into the playoffs, you know teams are going to lock in, and they're going to try and make the game hard for you," Lillard told reporters. "And I give a lot of credit to them for executing their game plan but the opportunities I do get, I've just got to be better. It's as simple as that." Starting center Jusuf Nurkic (leg) was limited to 15 minutes on Tuesday and swingman Even Turner (toe) missed all six of his field-goal attempts in 20 scoreless minutes.

ABOUT THE PELICANS: Holiday averaged 27 points in the two games in Portland and has thrived during the best of his five seasons in New Orleans. Injury issues and the situation in which his wife Lauren, a former U.S. national soccer player, battled a brain tumor while pregnant that caused him to miss the start of the 2016-17 season created challenges for the 27-year-old. "My family's the most important thing to me, and with them being OK I can come back to the team freely and be able to help them out now," Holiday told reporters. "It's been fun. I feel like my teammates and the organization definitely helped me out coming back from things with my family, and even the injuries, with being able to play and being able to perform at the peak I'm performing."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Pelicans star PF Anthony Davis is averaging 28.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in the series.

2. Portland SF Maurice Harkless (knee) had 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 27 minutes in Game 2 in his first action since March 25.

3. New Orleans F Nikola Mirotic (ankle) vows he'll play Thursday after being injured in Game 2.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 108, Pelicans 106
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Portland 49-35 L2 28-15 21-20 1-1 48-34 9-7 31-23
New Orleans 50-34 W7 24-17 26-17 4-4 46-30 9-7 29-25
Last Meeting
Portland New Orleans
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/17/18 NO 111 POR 102 102 45 45.1 111 43 51.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland C. McCollum 22 42.9 1
New Orleans J. Holiday 33 58.3 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland A. Aminu 15 5 10
New Orleans A. Davis 13 4 9
Assists Player  
Portland C. McCollum 6
New Orleans J. Holiday 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Portland D. Lillard 2093 43.6 523
New Orleans A. Davis 2249 52.9 546
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Portland J. Nurkic 747 202 545
New Orleans A. Davis 894 205 689
Assists Player  
Portland D. Lillard 511
New Orleans R. Rondo 567
Quickchart Matchup
Portland Portland Off vs  New Orleans New Orleans Defense
Portland Off vs New Orleans - Points For 105.5 Points For
Portland Off vs New Orleans - Points Against 110.1 Points Against
Portland - FG% 45.1 FG%
New Orleans - FG% 45.3 FG%
Portland - Reb 45.5 Reb
New Orleans - Reb 45.6 Reb
New Orleans New Orleans Off vs  Portland Portland Defense
New Orleans Off vs Portland - Points For 111.5 Points For
New Orleans Off vs Portland - Points Against 103.0 Points Against
New Orleans - FG% 48.4 FG%
Portland - FG% 44.8 FG%
New Orleans - Reb 44.4 Reb
Portland - Reb 43.0 Reb