Pelicans rout Trail Blazers to take 3-0 series lead: 3 takeaways

Pelicans rout Trail Blazers to take 3-0 series lead: 3 takeaways

DeMarcus Cousins, the New Orleans Pelicans All-Star whose season ended January 26 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon, was pacing the sidelines during New Orleans' morning shootaround hours before Thursday's Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Smoothie King Center. They outlasted the Blazers in Game 2 as they came out 111-102 winners.

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 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.

"We ask him to guard the best perimeter player and we ask him to do it while we're also wanting him to get 20 points", Gentry said, noting that Holiday has had to take turns guarding both members of Portland's prolific starting backcourt, guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The dynamic duo combined for just 39 points on 16-of-39 shooting. McCollum will have to step up as the leaders they are to slow down the explosive Jrue Holiday. San Antonio is shooting 26 percent on 3-pointers in the series after averaging 35 percent during the regular season.

The Trail Blazers made the announcement ahead of Thursday's tip in the NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series. Another loss would all but end any hopes they may have of turning this series around. After that, Portland let the game slip and spent all game trying to make it up. "Flying around. We played great offensively throughout the course of the game". Lillard will need to come out playing like he has for most of the season of the Blazers are nearly certainly going out in the first round.

Mirotic played arguably his best game yet in Game 3.

Playing with a potent combination of confidence and conviction, the Pelicans are firing on all cylinders on both ends of the court and the synchronicity is a attractive thing to watch. With Evan Turner questionable for Game 3 with a toe injury, Harkless will be even more important.

Despite his strong play all season, Holiday has mainly flew under the radar this year due in large part to Davis' nightly MVP-like performances.

Said McCollum: "Don't get swept". But with the series basically on the line, he'll need to find a way to outduel the excellent Holiday and lift the Blazers to a big road win. The Pelicans are one game away from being the first. The Pelicans, with Mirotic scoring 14 points, carried a 36-20 advantage into the second quarter. Defensively, the Trail Blazers are yielding 103.0 points per game against the opposing teams. Now, the Trail Blazers will have to win the next four games to keep their season alive, while the Pelicans are one win away from advancing to the second round for the first time since 2007-08. You'd think someone has to fall off a bit.