Anthony Davis scored 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans held off the Portland Trail Blazers to win the opener of their first-round Western Conference playoff series 97-95 Saturday night.
Jrue Holiday scored 21 points, Nikola Mirotic collected 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo contributed six points, eight rebounds and 17 assists for the sixth-seeded Pelicans.
CJ McCollum scored 19 points and Damian Lillard 18 for the Trail Blazers, who rallied from a 19-point, third-quarter deficit but could never take the lead.
Davis scored 17 and Holiday 15 as New Orleans carried a 45-36 advantage into halftime. Lillard and McCollum combined for three points on 1-for-15 shooting in the first half. The Blazers shot 31.9 percent from the field before intermission, including 3 of 17 from 3-point range.
New Orleans increased the margin to 69-50 on a Holiday layup midway through the third quarter. The Blazers trimmed the difference to 75-63 heading into the final period.
Lillard knocked down a 3-pointer to draw Portland within 77-70 with 9:06 remaining. New Orleans built the lead back to 86-72 on a Davis dunk off a lob pass with 6:09 to play. McCollum converted a three-point play to cut it to 86-75 with 5:22 to go.
Davis dunked again at the other end, but Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic followed with a three-point play to make it 88-78 with 4:55 remaining. Lillard’s layup trimmed the margin to 88-80 with 4:02 to go.
McCollum’s jumper brought Portland within 88-83 with 3:33 left. Lillard made a pair at the line, and New Orleans’ lead was at 88-85 with 2:47 to play.
Ian Clark buried a 3-pointer to hike the Pelicans’ edge to 91-85 with 2:25 to go. Nurkic sank a pair at the line, and it was 91-87 with 2:15 left. Rondo scored on a driving layup to make it 93-87, but Evan Turner hit a reverse layup, and McCollum followed with a trey from the corner to bring Portland to within 93-92 with 59.8 seconds on the clock.
When Davis missed a 3-point attempt, the Blazers rebounded with 25.5 seconds left. After a timeout, Lillard missed a floater in the key. Davis rebounded and was fouled with 12.4 seconds remaining. Davis made both free throws to give the Pelicans a 95-92 lead.
After a timeout, Portland’s Pat Connaughton tried for a dunk and was blocked from behind by Holiday. Davis sealed the verdict with a pair of free throws with 4.9 seconds left.
McCollum made a meaningless 3-pointer in the final second.
Portland jumped to an 8-2 lead as New Orleans started the game 1 of 7 from the field. The Pelicans rallied for a 21-18 advantage after one quarter.
New Orleans increased the edge to 43-32 late in the second quarter. The Pelicans took a nine-point lead into the half.
—Field Level Media