Monster efforts from Pelicans' Davis, Holiday complete sweep of Blazers

Pelicans dominate Blazers from start to finish, take 3-0 series lead

The Trail Blazers may be ready to make a change. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27, Damian Lillard added 18 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Pushing the pace, Rondo racked up 53 assists in four games and mixed in his share of slashing layups when defenses over-committed to Davis or Holiday. The pair combined for all but one of New Orleans' points during that pivotal stretch.

Rondo had Davis and Holiday laughing and mocking him a bit as they sat on the postgame podium together, and Rondo only ranked their performance as one of the four or five best he had seen from teammates in his career. They needed 81 games just to clinch a playoff spot. McCollum, had another strong regular season in finishing with the third seed in the Western Conference. But Portland seemed to cool off shortly before the regular season ended, and never regained peak form. "We've been in the playoffs five years straight", Lillard said.

Under the guidance of Rondo and coach Alvin Gentry, New Orleans has played its best when it has gotten out on the run. He was also previously the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2002-2004) and Milwaukee Bucks (2005-2007).

"Coach Stotts has done a great job from day one".

And when Maurice Harkless returned from injury, it looked like he might be the one.

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In Utah, Ricky Rubio had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Donovan Mitchell added 22 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference series. From the tip, it looked as though they'd done so.

The Blazers were fancied to overcome the Pelicans in a competitive six or seven game series by most pundits - but their predictions could not have been further from reality. I just tried to be aggressive.

After Philadelphia's Robert Covington inflicted a hard foul upon Miami's Goran Dragic, the Heat's James Johnson took issue and shoved Covington, which prompted Simmons to confront Johnson as coaches and players entered to contain the melee.

And in the final seconds of the half, double technicals were assessed to Rondo and Portland center Zach Collins after Rondo lowered his forehead into Collins' chest and Collins shoved back. The All-Star point guard repeatedly got sandwiched in double teams, often picking up his dribble and having no alternative but to try to complete any pass he could get off, to any teammate he could find.

Lillard, who never scored more than 20 in the series and was held below that three times, said he would have loved to shoot more, but the Pelicans' commitment to defend him early in possessions with multiple players made it hard. They still need time to digest and process what happened before making their plans for the future.

"We're going to do everything we can to upgrade the roster as we always do but we also aren't going to lose sight of the success throughout the course of the season", Olshey said.



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