After starting the series with two road wins, the New Orleans Pelicans moved one game closer to the second round of the 2018 National Basketball Association playoffs with a 119-102 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 on Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center. Game 3, 9 P.M., NBA TV.
Pelicans Forward Nikola MirotićOn playing well in front of the Smoothie King Center crowd: "It was just awesome to play at home with all this crowd and I think that they were just great tonight and they really helped us with energy and everything and I think they deserve this success and hopefully, you know, they're going to be even better next game and we can be even better, so we are really thankful for that".
"I never thought I'd score 30 or something like that", Mirotic said. "We just try to make him play on both ends of the floor". Then in early 2016 he took a leave of absence when doctors discovered that his wife, former USA national soccer team player Lauren Holiday, had a brain tumor while she was pregnant with the couple's first child. It's just about the team.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Moe Harkless will not have a minutes restriction against the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 3.
The Heat won Game 2 by controlling the physical battle. Game 4 is Saturday. We're confident that shots are going in. They made some really tough, hard shots, which they're very capable of doing, but I thought that, for the most part, we did a great job of trying to keep them under control. "We don't want to be in this position. but it should be fun and we should accept that challenge", Lillard said. "It's tough to play against, man".
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CJ McCollum had a better shooting game with 22 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 21 points, but it wasn't almost enough.
The Blazers had no answer for a Pelicans offense orchestrated once again to prolific effect by guard Rajon Rondo, who had 16 points and 11 assists - giving him 37 assists in the series. The Pelicans shot 52.9% (46-87 FG) from the field, while recording 16 steals on 24 Trail Blazers turnovers.
Lillard finished with 17 points for the Blazers, who were hurt in the third quarter when starters Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) and Evan Turner (right toe) left the game. Maurice Harkless started in his place, scoring five points in 26 minutes.
He banked in a turnaround straightaway jumper - a fortuitous bounce - to put Philadelphia up nine late, then connected on a 3-pointer and added a pair of throws to start the spurt that put the game away for Philadelphia.
McCollum's praise of Holiday may actually be a bit of an understatement as the Pelicans guard has simply been sensational in the first two games of the series. When he was shown cheering on his teammates on the main scoreboard, fans erupted into chants of "Boogie!" After leaving his razor at the team hotel in Portland before game 2, Anthony Davis sent rookie Charles Cooke to Target to buy Mirotic a razor. They scored 62 points in the paint.
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The Pelicans wore alternate red uniforms and every fan was given a matching T-shirt, turning the entire packed seating area into a sea of red.
Six turnovers in eight possessions and an overall lack of hustle pushed the Blazers into a deeper deficit.
The Pelicans submitted plenty of awesome highlights as they ran their biggest lead up to 33 points, with Anthony Davis at the center of the most awe-inspiring ones.
Mirotic scored 21 by halftime, which already represented a playoff career high. The Blazers came back with a 10-0 tear to trim the margin to 75-60.
New Orleans broke a 16-16 tie with a 20-2 surge for a 36-18 lead.
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So went the story of the rest of the game, as Portland couldn't fully tamp down the New Orleans offensive attack for longer than a few minutes at a time.