The Portland Trail Blazers needed to grab the bull by the horns, but instead looked like deer in headlights. They fell behind early and once again didn’t have enough to claw themselves back into an embarrassing 119-102 Game 3 beatdown at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans. It was not even as close at the lopsided score would suggest.
Portland was nearly doubled-up in the first quarter, then everything just went downhill from there. New Orleans was in command nearly wire-to-wire, and dominated almost every facet of the game. The Blazers, as it has been throughout this series, were just straight outplayed and it was painful to watch tonight. Portland now stands on the verge of elimination.
The loss gives New Orleans an almost insurmountable 3-0 advantage in the series - a deficit no team has overcome in NBA history. To say the Blazers have their work cut out for them would be an obvious understatement. If the team were not to advance, let alone by virtue of a sweep to a team sans-an All-NBA talent, it would make for one heck of a frustrating end to an up-and-down season. Portland could make history with a miraculous comeback in this series, but unfortunately the odds - and the eye test for that matter - don’t bode well at all for them.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (20 points), C.J. McCollum (22 points) and Al-Farouq Aminu (21 points, 8 rebounds)
The Pelicans were led by Nikola Mirotic (30 points, 8 rebounds) and Anthony Davis (28 points, 11 rebounds).
While the offensive struggles were still there, the nail in the coffin continued to be defense, as the Blazers yet again found themselves helpless to slow down machine that the Pelican starting lineup has suddenly become. The “Big 4” of Davis, Mirotic, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo combined for 90 points and thoroughly decimated any sort of resistance Portland tried to throw at them.
Mirotic - who was ripe for the taking from Chicago at this year’s trade deadline - continued played maybe his best game as a pro and continued to just burn the net, making 12 his 15 shots, including four from deep before his services weren’t needed in a blowout fourth quarter.
Rondo, who will surely be story himself going into the future, outplayed Lillard for the the third straight game and almost had as many assists (11) as the Blazers did as a team (19).
Up until garbage time began less than halfway through the final frame, the Portland bench “combined” for six points - all from rookie Zach Collins - who also was again favored over Jusuf Nurkic ( just 5 points and 7 boards in 20 minutes) down the stretch.
It was an ugly loss any way you cut it.
These are the ONLY highlights NBCSN posted online throughout the game.
Game 4 will stay in New Orleans, where the Blazers will put its season on the line Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.