Jrue Holiday has 33 and Pelicans beat the Blazers to go up 2-0
April 17, 2018 Updated Tue., April 17, 2018 at 10:19 p.m.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum gestures after hitting a 3-point basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Portland, Ore. (Craig Mitchelldyer / Associated Press)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Jrue Holiday had a career playoff-high 33 points and the New Orleans Pelicans took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 111-102 victory on Tuesday night.
Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Pelicans, who host the Blazers on Thursday as the series shifts to New Orleans. Anthony Davis added 22 points and 13 rebounds.
CJ McCollum, who struggled with backcourt teammate Damian Lillard in the opener, rebounded with 22 points to lead the Blazers.
Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter but Lillard hit a 3-pointer and added a free throw to tie the game at 93 with 7:31 left. Holiday’s pull-up jumper and Rondo’s driving layup kept the Blazers from pulling ahead.
Maurice Harkless dunked and Al-Farouq Aminu had a layup to re-tie the game at 97. After Holiday’s hook shot, Harkless made a 3-pointer to give Portland a 100-99 lead.
Nikola Mirotic and Holiday each hit 3-pointers to put the Pelicans back in front 105-100 with 1:35 remaining and Portland couldn’t catch up. Fans at the Moda Center booed at the final buzzer.
Lillard finished with 17 points for the Blazers, who were hurt in the third quarter when starters Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) and Evan Turner (right toe) left the game.
The third-seeded Blazers, in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, dropped the first game against the Pelicans 97-95, becoming the highest seed to lose at the start of the opening round.
Davis had 35 points and Rondo had 17 assists to tie the franchise record. Lillard and McCollum combined to shoot just 13 for 41 in the opener.
Portland got a boost in Game 2 with the return of Harkless for first time since he had a minor procedure on his left knee in late March. He missed 11 games.
But the Blazers again struggled to stop New Orleans.
Davis’ long jumper gave the Pelicans a 9-2 lead at the start. McCollum dunked to close within 11-10, but Holiday answered with a vicious second-chance dunk on his own.
McCollum shook off the Game 1 struggles, hitting four of eight from the floor in the opening quarter. His layup tied the game at 21 and then he dished to Harkless for the dunk to give the Blazers the short-lived lead.
Portland led 35-30 after rookie Zach Collin’s bank shot and the Blazers led by as many as nine points before taking a 59-54 lead into halftime. Holiday led all scorers with 14 points. Aminu had four 3-pointers and nine rebounds for the Blazers in the opening half.
Davis made a short jumper from out front to give the Pelicans a 65-64 lead. Portland was hurt a short time later when Nurkic limped off the court and into the locker room. When he returned to the bench, he was flexing his left leg. He iced his leg the rest of the game.
Later in the quarter forward Turner left the court with what Portland said was a right toe contusion.
Davis’ 3-pointer pushed the Pelicans lead to 75-68 midway through the third quarter. New Orleans, which led by as many as 11 points, was up 87-78 going into the fourth.
The two teams split the regular-season series.
Pelicans: Holiday had 12 points in the first quarter alone. … Davis had scored 25 or more in his first five post-season games. He came up a game shy tying LeBron James for the second-longest streak to begin a career, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 14 straight, according to Elias.
Trail Blazers: The third seed in the West has won its first-round series for the past four seasons. … Portland had home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. … Fans at the Moda Center were clearly upset with the officiating, taunting the refs with a chant in the final quarter.
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