The Portland Trail Blazers take on the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 4 on Saturday.
There is just something about the playoffs that does not sit well with the Portland Trail Blazers. The loss in game three now makes nine consecutive playoff losses for Portland. In fact, despite having made the playoffs for five straight seasons, their last playoff win was in May of 2016. Now, if they don’t win in game four, they will be watching the rest of the playoffs from home. The Trail Blazers (0-3) will be traveling to the Smoothie King Center on Saturday to take on the New Orleans Pelicans (3-0) with tip off scheduled for 5:00 pm ET.
The spread comes in at the Portland Trail Blazers +7 and the New Orleans Pelicans -7. The over/under for total points scored is set at 216.
It is no secret that for the Trail Blazers to have success they have to get solid play from their backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Unfortunately for Portland, they have not gotten the consistent performances needed, especially from Lillard. After averaging 26.9 points and 6.6 assists per game during the regular season, Lillard has only been able to average 18.3 and 4.3 during the playoffs. He has just looked out of whack this entire series, thanks in large part to the swarming defense and double-teams being employed by the Pelicans.
McCollum has been a little closer to his average at 21 points per game, but it is not enough to offset the struggling Lillard. Beyond those two, the only other Trail Blazer averaging double digits is Al-Farouq Aminu, who is averaging a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Unless they get a big game out of both Lillard and McCollum, or find someone else to be a major contributor, they may be looking at hitting double digits for consecutive playoff losses.
To add to the stress, they may also be playing without both Evan Turner (who also sat out game three with a toe injury) and Moe Harkless (who is battling a knee injury). Both of them are listed as questionable for game four.
In the first three games, Anthony Davis has been playing like an absolute superstar. He is averaging 28.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Frankly, the Trail Blazers don’t seem to have a whole lot of answers for him. The biggest story for the Pelicans has been what they have gotten from the supporting cast. If you were looking at the roster before the playoffs started, you probably wouldn’t have been intimidated by too many others aside from Davis.
Unlike the Blazers, though, they have been getting major contributions from several other players throughout this series. Jrue Holiday (23.3 points, 6 assists), Nikola Mirotic (21 points, 9 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 12.3 assists) have all come up big in the first three games. In fact, in the last game, Mirotic came up especially big scoring 30 points on 12 of 15 shooting, including 4 of 6 from three. If he can continue to be effective as a stretch four, it opens up the inside all the more for Davis making for a considerable matchup problem for Portland.
At this point, Portland just seems lost. They are not getting the performances out of their stars that earned them the three seed in the first place and they really don’t seem to have many answers for the Pelicans on either side of the ball. They were able to keep it relatively close in the first two games before losing by 17 to the Pelicans in the third game. At this point, I think the Pelicans steamroll through game four and move onto the second round. Take the Pelicans -7.