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Davis scores 35, Pelicans hold off Blazers 97-95 in Game 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Anthony Davis stole the show and the New Orleans Pelicans stole home-court advantage from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Davis had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo won the backcourt battle, and the Pelicans held on for a 97-95 victory on Saturday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series.

Holiday added 21 points, outplaying both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and had a big blocked shot in the closing seconds as New Orleans escaped after Portland erased almost all of a 19-point deficit.

''It's the playoffs,'' Holiday said of his final block. ''A lot of excitement and a lot of energy especially in the building. Obviously, that was a really big stop and at that moment it felt good to get a stop. It felt good to know that all the hard work we put in this game, we got the win, so we did a really good job at that.''

Rondo finished with 17 assists, eight rebounds and six points.

Portland made a charge that cut it to 93-92 on McCollum's 3-pointer just inside a minute left. Lillard missed in the lane with 15 seconds remaining with the Blazers still down one, and after Davis made two free throws, Holiday blocked Pat Connaughton's layup with 6.3 seconds to go.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts and several players said that the play was designed for a 3-pointer, but the Pelicans successfully took those options away.

Perhaps that had something to do with Rondo knowing everything the Blazers were ready to throw at them and relaying that knowledge to his teammates.

''He's in a different mindset,'' Davis said. ''He was up all night watching film. When they were calling plays out there he was telling us what it was in our version before they had a chance to run it. He's definitely locked in. The way he played tonight with 17 assists, he's just in a different mode for the playoffs.''

Lillard finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while McCollum had 19 points.

The sixth-seeded Pelicans were the only road team to win on the opening day of the NBA playoffs. Nikola Mirotic had 16 points, 11 rebounds and also blocked four shots to help Davis earn the first victory of his playoff career.

It looked like it would come easily, as the Pelicans extended a nine-point halftime lead to 69-50 on Holiday's dunk with 4:25 left in the third quarter. It still seemed safe when Davis threw down a thunderous alley-oop slam from Rondo with 6:09 to play, letting out a scream as Portland took an 86-72 lead.

Portland's rally came up short, but the Blazers vow to do better in Game 2 with regards to going after Davis.

''Getting to the basket, he's around,'' McCollum said. ''You know, he blocked my shot in the first quarter, maybe made some contact. But he's always there, he's always around roaming. But there's no excuses. We got to play better.''

Portland's two stars finished with just three combined free-throw attempts. McCollum says it's on them to force the issue.

''Maybe we need to be more aggressive getting downhill,'' McCollum said. ''You've got to figure out how the referees are reffing the game and go from there.''

TIP-INS

Pelicans: New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry is a believer in ''Playoff Rondo,'' the idea of Rondo elevating his game in the postseason. ''I think there is a sense of confidence that he has, especially this time of the year,'' Gentry said. ''He's a really bright player. One of the smartest guys I've ever been around. I've obviously had the opportunity to coach Steph (Curry), Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Grant Hill. When you start talking about the extremely smart players, he's one of those guys. I also think he has a way of giving confidence to the other guys. He makes them believe in themselves.''

Gentry says he relishes having someone who can lead the team in the way Rondo can. ''I know it's like an old clich�, but it really is like having an extra assistant coach.''

Trail Blazers: Among the challenges for the Blazers in this first-round series, none ranks higher than defending Davis. Terry Stotts said that he would begin the series with Jusuf Nurkic, who did not see much time on Davis in the regular season, on the All-Star big man.

Nurkic played 24 minutes, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

In a surprise, rookie Zach Collins played 22 minutes off the Blazers bench, up from his regular- season average of 16 minutes per game.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Portland.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
A. Davis
23 PF
D. Lillard
0 PG
36.6 Min. Per Game 36.6
26.9 Pts. Per Game 26.9
6.6 Ast. Per Game 6.6
4.5 Reb. Per Game 4.5
53.4 Field Goal % 43.6
53.3 Three Point % 43.9
82.7 Free Throw % 91.7
+ 3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot 0:00
+ 1 Anthony Davis made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:04
+ 1 Anthony Davis made 1st of 2 free throws 0:04
  Personal foul on Pat Connaughton 0:04
  Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis 0:04
  Pat Connaughton missed layup, blocked by Jrue Holiday 0:06
  Full timeout called 0:12
+ 1 Anthony Davis made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:12
+ 1 Anthony Davis made 1st of 2 free throws 0:12
  Personal foul on Evan Turner 0:12
  Defensive rebound by Anthony Davis 0:12
Team Stats
Points 97 95
Field Goals 41-86 (47.7%) 37-98 (37.8%)
3-Pointers 8-24 (33.3%) 12-39 (30.8%)
Free Throws 7-10 (70.0%) 9-12 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 54 58
Offensive 7 15
Defensive 42 37
Team 5 6
Assists 26 17
Steals 8 10
Blocks 12 6
Turnovers 14 12
Fouls 17 15
Technicals 0 0
35 PTS, 14 REB, 1 AST
18 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST
1234T
away team logo Pelicans 1-0 2124302297
home team logo Trail Blazers 0-1 1818273295
Team Stats
away team logo Pelicans 1-0 110.0 PPG 45.6 RPG 26.9 APG
home team logo Trail Blazers 0-1 105.5 PPG 43.5 RPG 19.0 APG
Key Players
A. Davis PF 28.1 PPG 11.1 RPG 2.3 APG 53.4 FG%
C. McCollum SG 21.4 PPG 4.0 RPG 3.4 APG 44.3 FG%
Top Scorers
A. Davis PF 35 PTS 14 REB 1 AST
C. McCollum SG 19 PTS 2 REB 2 AST
47.7 FG% 37.8
33.3 3PT FG% 30.8
70.0 FT% 75.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Davis 40 35 14 1 2 4 3 4 14/26 0/2 7/9 2 12 54 +1
J. Holiday 39 21 7 2 1 2 3 1 10/20 1/5 0/1 2 5 32 +12
N. Mirotic 39 16 11 3 2 4 1 1 6/15 4/10 0/0 1 10 38 +13
R. Rondo 39 6 8 17 1 0 2 4 3/9 0/1 0/0 0 8 47 -4
E. Moore 26 4 2 2 1 0 1 2 2/4 0/1 0/0 1 1 10 +10
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Davis 40 35 14 1 2 4 3 4 14/26 0/2 7/9 2 12 54 +1
J. Holiday 39 21 7 2 1 2 3 1 10/20 1/5 0/1 2 5 32 +12
N. Mirotic 39 16 11 3 2 4 1 1 6/15 4/10 0/0 1 10 38 +13
R. Rondo 39 6 8 17 1 0 2 4 3/9 0/1 0/0 0 8 47 -4
E. Moore 26 4 2 2 1 0 1 2 2/4 0/1 0/0 1 1 10 +10
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
I. Clark 24 10 1 1 1 1 2 1 4/5 2/2 0/0 0 1 13 -12
S. Hill 5 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 1/2 1/2 0/0 0 0 2 -6
C. Diallo 10 2 2 0 0 1 0 2 1/4 0/0 0/0 1 1 5 -4
D. Miller 14 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 4 3 0
A. Ajinca - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Liggins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Cousins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Crawford - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Cooke - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Drew - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
F. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Okafor - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 97 49 26 8 12 14 17 41/86 8/24 7/10 7 42 204 +10
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. McCollum 37 19 2 2 3 0 1 1 7/18 4/10 1/1 0 2 27 +4
D. Lillard 42 18 7 7 2 0 0 2 6/23 4/9 2/2 1 6 41 -7
E. Turner 30 13 7 0 1 1 4 2 6/15 1/4 0/0 4 3 18 -6
J. Nurkic 24 11 11 0 0 2 0 3 3/7 0/0 5/5 2 9 24 -7
A. Aminu 29 7 7 2 0 1 3 1 3/7 1/5 0/0 2 5 16 -11
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. McCollum 37 19 2 2 3 0 1 1 7/18 4/10 1/1 0 2 27 +4
D. Lillard 42 18 7 7 2 0 0 2 6/23 4/9 2/2 1 6 41 -7
E. Turner 30 13 7 0 1 1 4 2 6/15 1/4 0/0 4 3 18 -6
J. Nurkic 24 11 11 0 0 2 0 3 3/7 0/0 5/5 2 9 24 -7
A. Aminu 29 7 7 2 0 1 3 1 3/7 1/5 0/0 2 5 16 -11
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
Z. Collins 21 8 2 3 2 1 0 1 3/8 1/4 1/2 0 2 19 +5
P. Connaughton 17 7 2 1 1 0 0 1 3/7 1/4 0/0 1 1 12 +7
E. Davis 19 6 13 0 0 1 1 3 3/6 0/0 0/2 5 8 19 +7
S. Napier 14 6 1 1 1 0 3 1 3/7 0/3 0/0 0 1 7 -1
M. Leonard 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 +1
W. Baldwin IV 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 -2
M. Harkless - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Layman - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Wilcox - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Swanigan - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Papagiannis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 95 52 17 10 6 12 15 37/98 12/39 9/12 15 37 185 -10