The NBA playoffs have been nothing short of fantastic this season. Players have raised their game to accompany the intense level of competition this time of year. The sixth seeded Pelicans swept the third seeded Portland Trailblazers in four games, mostly due to the heightned play of their main players. They lead all Western Conference teams, scoring 114.5 points per game and they pose matchup problems for the teams they will face going forward.
Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday have been told all season what they can’t do. Both have been told things like they can’t shoot, they cant stay healthy and they are not good enough to help Anthony Davis reach the NBA Finals. Now the playoffs are here and these two players are showing what they can do. The pair stifled the Trailblazers backcourt of Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum all series and made huge contributions on offense.
The savvy veteran Rondo is averaging 13.3 assists, 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He’s a guy that makes the offense go without taking a bunch of shots and his leadership is an added bonus.
Holiday has been surprising, second on the team averaging 27.8 points and 6.5 assists per game. He’s shooting the ball well from perimeter and has shown a quick burst to the rim. His play has been key.
Nikola Mirotic has been a godsend to the Pelicans since they traded for him on February 1st. He’s averaging 18.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the playoffs. He is shooting .462 from three point range and has helped provide the spacing needed for the others to do work. Adding a player of Mirotic’s size plus his shooting ability made another tough matchup issue for opposing coaches.
Anthony Davis is averaging 33 points and 12 rebounds, an increase from his regular season numbers. He recorded a double-double in all four games and has led his team in scoring in three of the four games. He also has been a great defender, protecting the rim, and frustrating the opposing bigs. Davis has thrived in the role of superstar. There’s absolutely no game plan that works consistently to stop him, especially when his teammates are going off like this.
The Pelicans await the winner of the Golden State Warriors – San Antonio Spurs matchup. Who ever wins will have their hands full with the likes of Davis and company. These guys are going above and beyond, something you want from your team if your head coach Alvin Gentry. Its playoff time and not only have the Pelicans gotten the message, but they’re sending one of their own.