New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (R) pleads with a referee in the first quarter of the NBA Western Conference First Round basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, USA, Apr. 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/STEVE DIPAOLA
Portland, USA, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- The New Orleans Pelicans, seeded sixth in the West, won game one of their best-of-seven first round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.
Anthony Davis led the scoring with 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo had a massive 17 assists as he orchestrated the Pelicans offense, but it was thanks to huge defensive stops in the closing seconds that this win was secured.
Having enjoyed a nine point lead at half time, the Pelicans continued to outscore the third-seeded Trail Blazers in the third.
Portland were trailing by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but managed to reduce the deficit to a single point with under a minute left to set up a grandstand finish.
After a pair of defensive stops, Portland squandered an opportunity to level affairs, and let the Pelicans extend their lead to three points with seconds left.
A huge defensive play by Jrue Holiday on Pat Connaghton meant New Orleans could close out the game and complete a 97-95 win.
In addition to his heroics on defense, Holiday had 21 points, eight rebounds, and two assists, while Nikola Mirotic scored 16 points and made 11 rebounds.
CJ McCollum led the scoring for the home team with 19, who also had Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Damian Lillard added 18 for Portland, who had noone break the 20-point barrier.
Game Two will be played at the Moda Arena in Portland on Tuesday.