PORTLAND, Ore. — Anthony Davis has delivered many spectacular performances, however his terrific exhibiting Saturday evening got here with a primary: a playoff victory.
Constructing off his sturdy end to the common season, Davis had 35 factors, 14 rebounds, four blocks and a pair of steals to steer the New Orleans Pelicans to a 97-95 Recreation 1 victory over the Portland Path Blazers. It was the Pelicans’ first postseason win since 2011 and the primary of Davis’ six-year profession.
“It means a lot to get that monkey off your back and get your first win,” Davis mentioned. “Now that’s over with, and we want to come in Tuesday and get another one. That’s our mindset. But feels good to get that first win.”
Davis scored 11 factors within the fourth quarter to assist New Orleans face up to a Portland rally, and he had two rebounds and made 4 clinching free throws within the recreation’s ultimate 12 seconds. It was the ending touches on a motivated efficiency that noticed Davis sprawl on the courtroom repeatedly as he chased free balls.
“I think it’s very important to him that we found a way to win, not just the game, but he wants to win the series,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry mentioned. “He said he’s going to do everything he possibly can to help us do that.”
Davis bought assist from fellow star Jrue Vacation, who delivered 21 factors and 7 rebounds. Extra essential, he was a part of a stout defensive effort on Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They mixed to shoot 1-of-15 within the first half and 13-of-41 for the sport as Gentry constructed a recreation plan aimed toward swarming the Blazers’ stars and leaving others open.
Within the ultimate 15 seconds, Vacation made two essential defensive stops. He smothered Lillard on a drive within the lane, forcing a miss. Then he completed the Blazers off with a blocked shot on Pat Connaughton.
“I was hyped. I take pride in my defense, especially guarding all these great guards,” Vacation mentioned. “That’s why we play the game. It’s fun, but it’s tough.”
The Blazers had a number of alternatives to tie the rating within the ultimate 10 seconds, down solely three factors. However they by no means bought off a Three-pointer and twice ran performs out of timeouts that arrange Meyers Leonard and Connaughton as an alternative of Lillard or McCollum.
Portland coach Terry Stotts mentioned Lillard and McCollum have been the primary choices, however New Orleans’ protection took them out of the performs.
“We did get a fair amount of good looks. We just didn’t knock them down,” mentioned Lillard, who completed with 18 factors. “I think it puts some pressure on us. You come in with home court, the first two games are on your floor, and you lose. And now they’re saying in their locker room, ‘We got one, why not get another.'”