Davis, Rondo power Pelicans past Spurs

Spurs vs. Pelicans recap, reactions: Sliding down the playoff ladder

The No. 6-seeded New Orleans Pelicans face off with the No. 3-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round NBA Playoffs series Saturday night, beginning at 9:30 p.m.at the Moda Center (ESPN).

"We got in and now it is time to fine-tune things and try to get better", Aldridge said.

While Pelicans players declined to flatly state they preferred playing Portland, the Blazers were the only team amongst the West's top four who didn't take the season series from New Orleans (they split 2-2).

Anthony Davis enters the playoffs after another one of his best regular seasons where he averaged a career-high in points with a fifth straight year averaging a double-double, but that means very little to him right now. The two have faced each other eight times, and Davis has averaged 27.1 points and 11.0 rebounds with 53.8 percent shooting in their matchups.

"We were just starting to find our groove before he went out and when he got hurt it kind of pushed us back", Davis said. Three players had a double-double, as well: Davis, Rondo and Nikola Mirotic. But late this season, he shaved his beard, joined the starting lineup and he's been thriving ever since, scoring no fewer than 21 points in a game during the Pelicans' season-ending five-game winning streak. Now, though, the pressure is on the Blazers, who rolled through much of the second half of their schedule, including a 13-game winning streak, before petering out inexplicably in the final month. Its the Blazers' first division title since the 2014-15 season.

ROAD COURT ADVANTAGE: The Pelicans were just as good on the road (24-17) as they were at home (24-17).

HIGH MILEAGE: CJ McCollum topped the National Basketball Association for the most miles on the court this season with 218. Then, after two Davis free throws, Jrue Holiday blocked Pat Connaughton's layup to seal the 97-95 victory.

GOING FORWARD: Game 2 is set for Tuesday before swinging to New Orleans for games on Thursday and the following Saturday.

Portland has home court advantage in the series, but New Orleans owns the fifth-best road record in the National Basketball Association at 24-17.



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