NBA Playoffs 2018: Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans Game 2 - Match Preview
A lot of anticipation surrounded this series, and game number one of the Pelicans vs the Blazers delivered in spades. The defence of both sides stood out, and it was apt that the game was won by a terrific block by Jrue Holiday in the dying seconds.
Though they only put up 97 points, the Pelicans will be happy with the way their offence functioned. Anthony Davis was dominant, Nikola Mirotic and Holiday continued their good form, and Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists.
At the other end of the floor, the Trail Blazers have plenty of room for improvement. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both played poorly, and they will be reassured because they only lost by two points despite down performances from their two best players.
Three keys to the game
The Blazers’ backcourt – Combined, Lillard and McCollum went 13-for-41 from the field. Lillard was 1-for-9 at halftime, while McCollum was 0-for-6.
The latter recovered to shoot well in the second half, but Lillard was still just 5-for-14 after halftime. If these two continue to play poorly, Portland will find it difficult to overcome the Pelicans.
The Pelicans’ defensive rebounding – New Orleans allowed the Blazers to gobble up far too many offensive rebounds in Game 1.
Ed Davis grabbed five and Evan Turner grabbed four as the Blazers won themselves 15 total offensive rebounds throughout the course of the game.
This led to 21 points, and the Pelicans were lucky it didn’t cost them a victory. Expect them to be much more focused on this part of the game in Game 2.
Capitalising on turnovers – Both teams turned it over roughly the same amount of times on Sunday, the Blazers giving it up 12 times and the Pelicans 14.
The result was vastly different though. Of the 14 turnovers New Orleans committed, Portland scored 23 points. In contrast, New Orleans scored just nine points from Portland’s 12 turnovers.
Matchup to watch
Jrue Holiday vs Damian Lillard – Holiday spent time playing on each of Portland’s backcourt stars in Game 1, and was terrific defensively throughout.
He played a large role in Lillard going 6-for-23 from the floor, and if a similar shooting performance occurs in this one, the result may be the same too.
Coming into Game 1 Lillard was in good form though, having scored at least 25 points and averaging 31.3 points through the last three games of the regular season, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him bounce straight back.
At the other end of the floor, Holiday was problematic for Portland. He went 10-for-20 from the floor for 21 points and was bested only by Davis as the most prominent scorer on the floor.
Portland Trail Blazers Probable Starters
PG – Damian Lillard
SG – CJ McCollum
SF – Evan Turner
PF – Al-Farouq Aminu
C – Jusuf Nurkic
New Orleans Pelicans Probable Starters
PG – Rajon Rondo
SG – Jrue Holiday
SF – E’Twaun Moore
PF – Nikola Mirotic
C – Anthony Davis
Portland Trail Blazers vs New Orleans Pelicans at Moda Center
Date and time: ET - 17 April 2018 10:30 PM; IST - 18 April 2018, 8:00 AM