2018 NBA Playoffs: Pelicans rip up Blazers’ home court advantage

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Playoff results, April 15, 2018

2. Golden State Warriors 113 – 7. San Antonio Spurs 92 (Warriors lead series 1-0)

1. Toronto Raptors 114 – 8. Washington Wizards 106 (Raptors lead series 1-0)

3. Philadelphia 76ers – 6. Miami Heat 103 (Sixers lead series 1-0)

6. New Orleans Pelicans – 3. Portland Trail Blazers (Pelicans lead series 1-0)

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What happened in the Playoffs today?

1. Anthony Davis explosive in his return to the Playoffs

Anthony Davis first made the Playoffs back in 2015. They snuck in as an eighth seed and faced a juggernaut Golden State Warriors squad. They were bushwhacked by the Warriors and Davis failed to make a splash, getting eliminated in five games. He waited three years to make it back to this stage and in his very first game back, Davis played a statement game.

The Portland Trail Blazers didn’t have anyone on their roster that could properly match-up with Davis. They started with Jusuf Nurkic on the Brow and he just pulled him away from from the paint and popped jumpers in his face. They tried their platoon of forwards on Davis and he just took them to the paint and powered through them. Davis finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. He scooped up an alley-oop pass from Rajon Rondo and slammed it down hard to give New Orleans a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Davis had a lot of help in today’s game. Jrue Holiday had 21 points, Nikola Mirotic had 16 and 11. Today also marked the return of Playoff Rondo. Rajon Rondo had 17 assists to orchestrate the Pelicans offense.

The Blazers made it interesting with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum leading a comeback. But the Pelicans built a large enough lead to escape Rip City with an upset. This isn’t a regular 3-6 series. The Pelicans could have finished at with the fourth seed if a few games had gone their way. They have the personnel to frustrate the Blazers’ guards and an MVP-caliber player in Davis. This series got even more interesting with home court advantage shifting New Orleans’ way.

2. Ben Simmons shines in his first Playoff series

The Philadelphia 76ers continue to roll. In their very first Playoff series since The Process started, the Sixers trampled the Miami Heat to take command of the series. Leading the way is their young floor general, Ben Simmons.

The Australian star was dropping dimes and controlling the Philly tempo. He nearly had a triple-double with 14 assists, 17 points, nine rebounds and two steals. The Sixers scored 74 points in the second half as they pulled away from the Heat for good.

With Simmons leading the way, Philly had a trio of 20-point scorers. JJ Redick led the way with 28 points, Marco Belinelli had 25 points and Dario Saric had 20. Ersan Ilyasova added 17. The Sixers are doing this without All-Star Joel Embiid. That’s the scarier thought.

3. Raptors Bench continue to be a difference-maker

The Washington Wizards All-Star back court outplayed their Toronto counterparts. John Wall had 23 points and 15 assists while Bradley Beal had 19 points. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were limited to a combined 28 points.

Unfortunately, the Raptors bench was ready for Game 1. Delon Wright (18 points) led the bench mob who combined for 42 points. The Wizards only got 21 points from their bench.

The Raptors were hyped after the win and Kyle Lowry had another assists during the post-game presscon.

4. Pop was not happy with their Game 1 performance

The San Antonio Spurs gave up 113 points in Game 1. To make matters worse they only managed to score 92 points on 40% shooting. No Spur scored more than 20 points. They allowed JaVale McGee to explode for 15 points. Kevin Durant wasn’t that bad either. He had 24 points.

Needless to say, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not pleased. Not one to pull punches, he made let the media know what he was feeling.

Photo from AP

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