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Pelicans stay big and steal home court from Portland

From ESPN - April 14, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The New Orleans Pelicans needed to sweat out the franchise's first playoff win since 2011 -- the first under the Pelicans moniker they adopted before the 2013-14 season and the first of Anthony Davis' career.

The last time New Orleans reached the postseason, in 2014-15, the Pelicans led the eventual champion Golden State Warriors by 20 points at the start of the third quarter of Game 3 only to lose the game in overtime and eventually get swept. Game 1 of New Orleans' series with the Portland Trail Blazers looked as if it might be dj vu.

Up 19 late in the third quarter, the Pelicans allowed the Blazers to cut the lead to just one point in the final minute with two opportunities to take the lead. New Orleans' defense came up big both times, forcing a CJ McCollum turnover and a Damian Lillard miss. Then, after two Davis free throws, Jrue Holiday blocked Pat Connaughton's layup to seal a 97-95 victory Saturday night at the Moda Center.

For much of the night, it looked as if Portland would be lucky not to get blown out. Facing extra defensive attention in the pick-and-roll, Lillard and McCollum shot a combined 1-of-15 from the field in the first half. By the time they found a rhythm late in the third, New Orleans had nearly pushed the lead to 20 points. But the Blazers got just enough production from Lillard and their bench to stay in contact and keep the home crowd in the game.

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