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Spread Your Wings & Fly

Pelicans’ playoff race starts Saturday



Anthony Davis will be looking to win his first playoff game and series as the New Orleans Pelicans begin a best-of-seven series with the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.

associated press

The New Orleans Pelicans needed all 82 games to do it, but they did. On the last night of the regular season the Pelicans qualified for the sixth seed in the NBA’s Western Conference playoffs and will play a first-round best-of-seven quarterfinal matchup against the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers. It’s an achievement that needs to be applauded, and congratulations need to be given to the team, general manager Dell Demps, head coach Alvin Gentry, and team superstar Anthony Davis.

When the second member of the Pelicans’ dynamic duo center DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon on January 26, many thought the Pels’ season was over. The team was in playoff contention, but lost five of their next six games. Without their big man, the sky seemed to be falling. But then Davis, the 6’11” wunderkind, took on the role of Atlas and stopped the heavens from crashing down.

Many believe Davis, the former top overall draft pick, may just be reaching his full potential. The five-time All-Star turned 25 on March 11, and lit up the NBA like a birthday cake this spring, finishing as the NBA’s second top scorer with 28.1 points per game. With the best play of his career, the Brow, as he is called for his signature uni-brow look, led the Pelicans to a 20-8 record since Feb. 10, and averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. After starting 20-20, his play lifted the Pelicans to a 48-34 record – their most regular season wins in a decade – and a margin of 14 more wins than the 34 they won last season and 18 more wins than in the 30 they earned in the 2015-16 season.

Portland finished the regular season 49-33, only a game ahead of New Orleans, but only two games separate the Western Conference’s third though eighth seeds. The Pelicans and Trail Blazers split their four regular season games with each team winning on the other’s home court. Similar to the Pels, the Blazers had an 18-8 record after Feb. 10, led by three-time All-Star guard Damian Lillard.

New Orleans hasn’t been to the playoffs since they were swept in four games in 2015 and last won a playoff series 10 years ago. Davis is looking for his first playoff win as a pro. With help from his supporting cast, including Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic, and E'Twaun Moore, and the thoughtful guidance of head coach Alvin Gentry, the Pels will go as far as Davis can take them.

To get fans ready for the action, FOX Sports New Orleans will televise expanded one-hour Pelicans LIVE pregame shows for Game 1 as well as all home games, 30-minute pregame shows for remaining road games, and 30-minute postgame shows after all games. Contests carried on FOX Sports New Orleans will be available for live streaming on FOXSportsGO.com or on the free FOX Sports GO app. WRNO 99.5 FM will broadcast each game on radio.

 

Pelicans Playoffs On The Air

The No. 6 seed New Orleans Pelicans (48-34) will face the No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers (49-33) starting Saturday in a best-of-seven series in the first round of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. All times are Central.

 

Game        Date                   Time            Location                       TV/Radio

1          Sat., April 14          9:30 p.m.         Portland           ESPN, FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

2          Tue., April 17          9:30 p.m.         Portland            TNT, FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

3          Thu., April 19           8 p.m.          New Orleans      NBATV, FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

4          Sat., April 21           4 p.m.           New Orleans        TNT, FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

5*        Tue., April 24            TBD                 Portland               FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

6*        Thu., April 26            TBD             New Orleans            FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

7*        Sat., April 28            TBD                 Portland                FSNO/WRNO 99.5 FM

*If necessary

 

Starting Fives

Position                  Pelicans                  Trail Blazers

Point Guard           Rajon Rondo             Damian Lillard

Shooting Guard     Jrue Holiday              C.J. McCollum

Small Forward     E’Twaun Moore             Evan Turner

Power Forward     Nikola Mirotic           Al-Farouq Aminu

Center                  Anthony Davis             Jusuf Nurkic

 

 

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Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he's not writing, he's avid about music, the outdoors and Saints, Ole Miss & Chelsea football. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, two girls and three Labradors. In addition reporting on New Orleans sports, he is looking forward to Biz’s assignment to cover the Mint 400, “The Great American Off-Road Race.”

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