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Mirotic, Davis lead Pelicans to 3-0 series lead over Blazers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Nikola Mirotic watched his third 3-pointer of the first half swish through the hoop, turned to acknowledge the raucous, roaring crowd and raised his first triumphantly as he trotted back up court.

Portland had a hard enough time dealing with Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo in Games 1 and 2. Pile on the finest playoff performance of Mirotic's four NBA seasons, and the rout was on in Game 3.

Mirotic scored a career playoff-best 30 points to go with eight rebounds, three steals and a block, and the Pelicans pushed Portland to the brink of elimination with a 119-102 victory on Thursday night.

''I never thought I'd score 30 or something like that,'' Mirotic said. ''I'm just trying to play simple. If I have a shot, take a shot, so I need to give credit to my teammates. ... It's just about the team. It's about winning.''

To illustrate how hard New Orleans has been to defend in the series, Portland coach Terry Stotts made a point of noting that Mirotic was the third different Pelicans player to score 30 in a game. Davis had 35 in Game 1 and Holiday 33 in Game 2.

''New Orleans played extremely well,'' Stotts said. ''We arguably had one of our worst games of the year, so it was a bad combination.''

Davis had 28 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for New Orleans, which can advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008 with one more victory. Game 4 is Saturday.

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic, acquired in a midseason trade after DeMarcus Cousins' season-ending Achilles tear, made 12 of 15 shots, scoring on everything from quick-release 3-pointers to cutting dunks and fast-break layups.

''I knew I was capable to have games like this, but I never want to force any shots and always want to play simple, play for my teammates the same way they play for me,'' Mirotic said. ''I just want to show them they were right to bring me here.''

Damian Lillard scored 20 for Portland, but missed nine of an unusually low 14 shots. He averaged about 19 shots per game this season, but said the Pelicans were defending him relentlessly.

''They're making me give the ball up,'' Lillard said. ''This is a different coverage than I've seen at any point in my career. ... It's two or three layers of defense. It's tough to play against, man.''

CJ McCollum scored 22 and Al-Farouq Aminu added 21, but Portland trailed by double digits for most of the first half and all of the second.

The Blazers had no answer for a Pelicans offense orchestrated once again to prolific effect by Rondo, who had 16 points and 11 assists - giving him 37 assists in the series. Holiday added 16 points for New Orleans, which shot 53 percent (46 of 87).

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Starting F Evan Turner was scratched because of his toe injury sustained during Game 2 on Tuesday night. Maurice Harkless started in his place, scoring five points in 26 minutes. ... The Blazers committed 24 turnovers, leading to 29 Pelicans points. ... Finished 9 of 31 from 3-point range.

Pelicans: Cousins was on the bench, attending his first game in New Orleans since his injury on Jan. 26. When he was shown cheering on his teammates on the main scoreboard, fans erupted into chants of ''Boogie! Boogie!'' ... The Pelicans shot 11 of 27 from 3-point range and 16 of 19 on free throws. ... Scored 62 points in the paint and 32 on fast breaks.

SETTING THE TONE

The Pelicans wore alternate red uniforms and every fan was given a matching T-shirt, turning the entire packed seating area into a sea of red.

The volume was high early with the crowd revved up for the first playoff game in New Orleans since 2015.

The Blazers did nothing to silence the place, shooting about 35 percent and committing six turnovers in the opening quarter.

New Orleans raced to an 18-point lead in the period, aided by Mirotic hitting five of his first seven shots for 14 early points.

Mirotic scored 21 by halftime, which already represented a playoff career high.

Davis joined the fray with his typical array of alley-oop dunks, one of which he caught with his back to the basket and threw down with a two-handed reverse jam.

Rondo ran New Orleans' offense with a tempo that gave Portland fits, and even when he was forced to settle for a deep 3 late in the shot clock, it went down, pushing the Pelicans' lead to 20 in the first half.

Portland never got closer than 13 after that and trailed by as many as 33 in the fourth quarter.

FRESH LOOK

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said he's not sure Mirotic's decision to shave his beard had anything to do with his recent surge in production, but said the Pelicans are choosing to believe it does. He then added, ''Tell Niko, no 5 o'clock shadows, OK?''

UP NEXT

The series remains in New Orleans for Game 4 on Saturday night, when the Pelicans have an opportunity to complete the first playoff series sweep in franchise history.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:49   Personal foul on Rajon Rondo  
11:39   Out of bounds turnover on Al-Farouq Aminu  
11:23 +3 Nikola Mirotic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 0-3
11:08 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jusuf Nurkic 3-3
10:57   Nikola Mirotic missed jump shot  
10:53   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
10:46   Maurice Harkless missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:44   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
10:33 +2 Nikola Mirotic made layup, assist by Rajon Rondo 3-5
10:20 +3 Al-Farouq Aminu made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by CJ McCollum 6-5
9:58   Bad pass turnover on Rajon Rondo, stolen by Al-Farouq Aminu  
9:49   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Anthony Davis  
9:45   Personal foul on CJ McCollum  
9:42   Anthony Davis missed alley-oop shot  
9:39   Offensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
9:32 +2 Rajon Rondo made finger-roll layup 6-7
9:17 +3 Al-Farouq Aminu made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 9-7
8:59 +3 Nikola Mirotic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by E'Twaun Moore 9-10
8:46   Lost ball turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Nikola Mirotic  
8:36 +2 Rajon Rondo made floating jump shot 9-12
8:17 +2 Jusuf Nurkic made dunk 11-12
8:00   E'Twaun Moore missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:57   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
7:47   Jusuf Nurkic missed jump shot  
7:43   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
7:37 +2 Jrue Holiday made layup, assist by Nikola Mirotic 11-14
7:24 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 14-14
7:14   Personal foul on Jusuf Nurkic  
7:08 +2 Anthony Davis made layup, assist by Rajon Rondo 14-16
6:52   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:48   Offensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
6:47 +2 Maurice Harkless made finger-roll layup 16-16
6:29 +2 Nikola Mirotic made driving layup, assist by Rajon Rondo 16-18
6:02   Jusuf Nurkic missed finger-roll layup, blocked by Anthony Davis  
5:59   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
5:53 +3 Jrue Holiday made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 16-21
5:32   Jusuf Nurkic missed jump shot  
5:26   Defensive rebound by Rajon Rondo  
5:30   Offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
5:28   Al-Farouq Aminu missed dunk  
5:19   Jrue Holiday missed driving layup  
5:18   Defensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
5:18   Personal foul on Nikola Mirotic  
5:03   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:01   Defensive rebound by E'Twaun Moore  
4:57 +2 Anthony Davis made alley-oop shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 16-23
4:39   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:36   Offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
4:30 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made floating jump shot 18-23
4:18   Personal foul on Maurice Harkless  
4:11   Shooting foul on Zach Collins  
4:11 +1 Anthony Davis made 1st of 2 free throws 18-24
4:11 +1 Anthony Davis made 2nd of 2 free throws 18-25
3:58   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:53   Defensive rebound by Darius Miller  
3:39   Anthony Davis missed jump shot  
3:35   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
3:26   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Anthony Davis  
3:19   Jrue Holiday missed jump shot  
3:16   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
3:07   Zach Collins missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:02   Offensive rebound by Pat Connaughton  
3:01   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:59   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
2:45 +2 Nikola Mirotic made fade-away jump shot 18-27
2:18   Maurice Harkless missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:15   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
2:11   Personal foul on Zach Collins  
2:11 +1 Nikola Mirotic made 1st of 2 free throws 18-28
2:11 +1 Nikola Mirotic made 2nd of 2 free throws 18-29
1:59   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:57   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
1:45   Darius Miller missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:41   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
1:36   Damian Lillard missed floating jump shot  
1:36   Team rebound  
1:36   Personal foul on Darius Miller  
1:30   Offensive foul on Jusuf Nurkic  
1:30   Offensive foul on Jusuf Nurkic  
1:15 +2 Jrue Holiday made reverse layup 18-31
1:00   Damian Lillard missed floating jump shot  
0:58   Defensive rebound by Solomon Hill  
0:52 +3 Ian Clark made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Mirotic 18-34
0:33   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Nikola Mirotic  
0:11   Shooting foul on Zach Collins  
0:11 +1 Solomon Hill made 1st of 2 free throws 18-35
0:11 +1 Solomon Hill made 2nd of 2 free throws 18-36
0:02 +2 Damian Lillard made layup 20-36
0:00   Nikola Mirotic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   Team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:50   Bad pass turnover on Ian Clark, stolen by Shabazz Napier  
11:35   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:31   Defensive rebound by Rajon Rondo  
11:17   Ian Clark missed jump shot  
11:13   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
10:59   Personal foul on Darius Miller  
10:51 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot, assist by Shabazz Napier 22-36
10:41   Lost ball turnover on Ian Clark, stolen by Shabazz Napier  
10:37   Shabazz Napier missed driving layup  
10:37   Offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
10:37   Shooting foul on Anthony Davis  
10:37 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 1st of 2 free throws 23-36
10:37 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-36
10:26   Shooting foul on Pat Connaughton  
10:26   Rajon Rondo missed 1st of 2 free throws  
10:26   Team rebound  
10:26 +1 Rajon Rondo made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-37
10:03   Lost ball turnover on Shabazz Napier, stolen by Rajon Rondo  
9:56   Darius Miller missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:51   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
9:45   Lost ball turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Ian Clark  
9:40 +2 Rajon Rondo made driving layup, assist by Ian Clark 24-39
9:24   Lost ball turnover on Ed Davis, stolen by Darius Miller  
9:12   Shooting foul on Pat Connaughton  
9:12 +1 Solomon Hill made 1st of 2 free throws 24-40
9:12 +1 Solomon Hill made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-41
8:58 +2 CJ McCollum made jump shot, assist by Pat Connaughton 26-41
8:38   Rajon Rondo missed finger-roll layup  
8:36   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
8:22   Backcourt turnover on Shabazz Napier  
8:08   Anthony Davis missed hook shot  
8:06   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
7:57   Lost ball turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Ian Clark  
7:51   Rajon Rondo missed driving layup  
7:45 +2 Anthony Davis made dunk 26-43
7:45   Offensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
7:33   Lost ball turnover on Pat Connaughton, stolen by Darius Miller  
7:28   Darius Miller missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:25   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
7:18   CJ McCollum missed driving layup  
7:18   Offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
7:17   Al-Farouq Aminu missed dunk  
7:17   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
6:57 +3 Rajon Rondo made 3-pt. jump shot 26-46
6:41   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:32   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
6:21   Bad pass turnover on Rajon Rondo, stolen by Al-Farouq Aminu  
6:06   Damian Lillard missed finger-roll layup  
6:03   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
5:57   Rajon Rondo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:52   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
5:41   CJ McCollum missed jump shot  
5:41   Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
5:25   Jrue Holiday missed driving layup  
5:25   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
5:25   Personal foul on Jrue Holiday  
5:08 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made jump shot 28-46
4:43 +2 Nikola Mirotic made reverse layup, assist by Anthony Davis 28-48
4:33   Unsportsmanlike technical foul  
4:33 +1 Damian Lillard made free throw 29-48
4:20 +3 Al-Farouq Aminu made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 32-48
4:10 +2 Anthony Davis made alley-oop shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 32-50
3:55 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot 34-50
3:45   Anthony Davis missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:41   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
3:32   Shooting foul on Anthony Davis  
3:32 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 35-50
3:32 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 36-50
3:25 +2 Anthony Davis made alley-oop shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 36-52
3:00 +3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Al-Farouq Aminu 39-52
2:40   Jrue Holiday missed turnaround jump shot  
2:35   Defensive rebound by Ed Davis  
2:30 +2 CJ McCollum made jump shot 41-52
2:18 +2 Nikola Mirotic made layup, assist by Jrue Holiday 41-54
1:54   Maurice Harkless missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:52   Defensive rebound by Rajon Rondo  
1:47 +3 Jrue Holiday made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 41-57
1:20   Maurice Harkless missed layup, blocked by Nikola Mirotic  
1:17   Offensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
1:15   Maurice Harkless missed jump shot  
1:12   Defensive rebound by Jrue Holiday  
1:11 +3 Nikola Mirotic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 41-60
0:54 +3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 44-60
0:50   Personal foul on CJ McCollum  
0:35   Lost ball turnover on Jrue Holiday, stolen by CJ McCollum  
0:35   Personal foul on Solomon Hill  
0:35 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 45-60
0:35   Damian Lillard missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
0:33   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
0:29 +2 E'Twaun Moore made jump shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 45-62
0:23   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:19   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
0:03 +2 Jrue Holiday made jump shot 45-64
0:00   Pat Connaughton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   Team rebound  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:39   Anthony Davis missed jump shot  
11:35   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
11:22 +2 Jusuf Nurkic made layup, assist by Damian Lillard 47-64
11:08   Bad pass turnover on Rajon Rondo, stolen by Jusuf Nurkic  
11:03   CJ McCollum missed jump shot  
11:00   Offensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
10:57 +3 Maurice Harkless made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jusuf Nurkic 50-64
10:32   E'Twaun Moore missed floating jump shot  
10:30   Defensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
10:27   Lost ball turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Jrue Holiday  
10:22 +2 Jrue Holiday made driving dunk 50-66
10:11   CJ McCollum missed jump shot  
10:09   Offensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
10:07   Jusuf Nurkic missed dunk  
10:05   Defensive rebound by Nikola Mirotic  
9:52 +2 Anthony Davis made floating jump shot, assist by Rajon Rondo 50-68
9:31   Lost ball turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Jrue Holiday  
9:30   Kicked ball violation  
9:17   Anthony Davis missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:13   Defensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
9:01   Lost ball turnover on Jusuf Nurkic, stolen by Anthony Davis  
9:01   Personal foul on Jusuf Nurkic  
8:41   Jrue Holiday missed jump shot, blocked by Al-Farouq Aminu  
8:37   Defensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
8:31   Out of bounds turnover on Damian Lillard  
8:18 +2 E'Twaun Moore made floating jump shot 50-70
8:06   Personal foul on Jrue Holiday  
7:57   Out of bounds turnover on Al-Farouq Aminu  
7:51 +2 Rajon Rondo made finger-roll layup 50-72
7:36   Personal foul on E'Twaun Moore  
7:28   Maurice Harkless missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:24   Defensive rebound by E'Twaun Moore  
7:17 +2 Anthony Davis made layup, assist by Jrue Holiday 50-74
7:17   Shooting foul on Jusuf Nurkic  
7:17 +1 Anthony Davis made free throw 50-75
7:00   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:56   Defensive rebound by E'Twaun Moore  
6:48   Nikola Mirotic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:44   Defensive rebound by CJ McCollum  
6:39 +2 CJ McCollum made finger-roll layup 52-75
6:39   Shooting foul on Anthony Davis  
6:39 +1 CJ McCollum made free throw 53-75
6:32   Anthony Davis missed jump shot  
6:28   Defensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
6:24 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made driving layup, assist by CJ McCollum 55-75
6:11   Bad pass turnover on Rajon Rondo, stolen by Jusuf Nurkic  
6:05 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot 58-75
5:50   Jrue Holiday missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:47   Defensive rebound by Jusuf Nurkic  
5:35 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made driving dunk, assist by Maurice Harkless 60-75
5:20   Personal foul on Maurice Harkless  
5:08 +2 Nikola Mirotic made dunk, assist by Anthony Davis 60-77
4:56   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:56   Team rebound  
4:56   Personal foul on Nikola Mirotic  
4:43   Lost ball turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Jrue Holiday  
4:35   Ian Clark missed jump shot  
4:27   Offensive rebound by Anthony Davis  
4:27 +2 Anthony Davis made dunk 60-79
4:24   Shooting foul on Ian Clark  
4:24 +1 CJ McCollum made 1st of 2 free throws 61-79
4:24   CJ McCollum missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
4:21   Defensive rebound by Jrue Holiday  
4:17 +2 Nikola Mirotic made layup, assist by Jrue Holiday 61-81
3:57 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made driving layup, assist by CJ McCollum 63-81
3:43 +2 Jrue Holiday made driving layup 63-83
3:27 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot 65-83
3:05   Out of bounds turnover on Jrue Holiday  
2:53   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:49   Defensive rebound by Jrue Holiday  
2:41