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Charles Barkley says Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum 'got their butts kicked' by Pelicans guards

"This is probably the first time where the big is just staying". New Orleans comes into this game slightly favored, at -3. The Pelicans easily covered the spread as 3.5-point favorites, and the game went over the total of 214.5. On offense, Holiday is averaging 27 points, 5.5 assists, and five rebounds while shooting a stellar 54.5 percent.

Whether it's LeBron James taking off his headband to jump start a rally against the Spurs several years ago or the Warriors fanbase paying homage to a toaster that Klay Thompson signed as the reason for their undefeated streak, the National Basketball Association always seem to find ways to credit something for a player's (or in the case of the aforementioned toaster - team's) sudden success.

New Orleans set a franchise playoff record with 16 steals in Game 3. Portland never got closer than 11 the rest of the way. Defensively, the Trail Blazers are yielding 103.0 points per game against the opposing teams. After Holiday's hook shot, Harkless made a 3-pointer to give Portland a 100-99 lead. Scored 62 points in the paint and 32 on fast breaks.

McCollum shook off the Game 1 struggles, hitting four of eight from the floor in the opening quarter.

For example, there aren't many players who can chase Lillard around screens and recover in time to block his shot.

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday also suggested before Thursday's 119-102 win that the game could be a recruiting effort for New Orleans, since Cousins is scheduled to be a free agent this summer.

He will go at will against the Pelicans and Durant will be very aggressive.

New Orleans' largest lead came when Jordan Crawford hit a 3-pointer with 6:46 remaining in the fourth quarter for a 112-79 lead. The Pelicans led by as many as 33 with under seven minutes to play before easing off the gas, allowing Portland to cut the deficit in garbage time. The dominating center was a one man wrecking crew on the inside, willing the Pelicans to a 97-95 victory.

The Pelicans shot 54.8 percent from the field and forced 12 Portland turnovers to seize a 64-45 advantage at halftime.

Simmons, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award favourite, continued to play like an elite veteran in coming just three assists short of the triple-double.

With the Trailblazers on the brink of a shock first round playoff exit to the Pelicans, they'll be turning to their All Star PG Damian Lillard for answers in a win-out situation.

Mirotic scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Davis collected 28 points and 11 boards for New Orleans. "It's two and three layers of defense." he said per Andrew Greif of The Oregonian.

Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo both contributed to the cause with 16 points apiece.

Especially if the Blazers continue to perform as poorly as they have in the first three games of this series. Look for New Orleans to sweep the series and advance to the conference semifinals with a victory here.

"We're against a lot of odds", CJ McCollum said Friday, But he's no stranger to that and it's up to each player to dig deep and find the motivation to mount a comeback. He did join the team for two road games in Los Angeles. "Guys are sacrificing their games for each other". The Pelicans are playing just fine without him and one of the reasons why is Anthony Davis.

Naturally, #NBATwitter had plenty to say about the Pelicans' dominance and the lackluster play from the Blazers in Game 3.

The Pelicans were underdogs in the series but are now overwhelming favorites. Holiday has developed into one of the best two-way guards in the league, and he'll likely be named an All-NBA Defender this season for the first time in his career.

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