The Warriors have clearly flipped the proverbial switch, and are playing their best basketball of the season - yet their biggest trump card has yet to be played. That was also the only other time New Orleans advanced to the second round in its 16 years of existence.
By the time Solomon Hill drained a wide-open 3 pointer from the corner to end the blur, the Pelicans had tallied a franchise playoff record 42 points in the period and all but packed Portland's bags for the summer.
The Pelicans appear destined to play second-seeded Golden State in Round 2. The team's streak matched the franchise record. There is no apparent Damian Lillard or LaMarcus Aldridge to lead the team to Playoffs.
The former Bruin is averaging 27.8 points, 6.5 assists and 4 rebounds in the playoffs. He was named the West's player of the week twice. The main problem for New Orleans is they don't have anyone to stop Kevin Durant. In his past trio of games, The Brow has averaged 28.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.7 blocks on 54.8 percent shooting. "We just didn't play great". We played together for the entire season. "And we can just stick to our game plan and be true to ourselves". "You work so hard to give yourself the opportunity to play in the playoffs and it's disappointing to lose it", Lillard said. Plus - just eyeball test here - the Pelicans have completely overwhelmed the Blazers in every facet of the game in this series, except maybe rebounding where the Blazers have pounded the offensive boards on occasion.
"They were up into us a lot, a lot more aggressive than we were". New Orleans had the momentum.
Even if Curry misses the entire series, the Warriors have proven that they can win with more defense-oriented lineups. The Pelicans have been that red-hot over the last two weeks.
New Orleans missed the playoffs during Gentry's first two seasons, during which the team was hampered by a combination of key injuries or other matters that caused extended absences of key personnel. McCollum, had another strong regular season in finishing with the third seed in the Western Conference. "Losing in the first round is never ideal and never something that you want to experience, but it is what happened and we have to learn from it".
That unselfish style of play has permeated through the roster and the players have taken pride in finding joy whenever someone else on the team succeed. "(Playing time) wasn't handed to him day one", Olshey said. "I couldn't be happier for a guy on my team".
"I think this one probably hurt a little bit more, just because we had such a great season and we came in with really, really high expectations", Lillard said.
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