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The Bird Calls Podcast Ep. 105: Bring on the Portland Trail Blazers!

Quick recap of the season finale win over the Spurs and a look ahead at the Pelicans first round opponent in the playoffs.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Three years ago, the New Orleans Pelicans took a sizeable lead heading into the fourth quarter, only for the San Antonio Spurs to mount a furious comeback with eight minutes to play.

This one would never get that close.

Against the Clippers on Monday night, it was a 33-4 run between the second to third quarters that paced the Pelicans, but in the Spurs matchup, the heavy lifting was all accomplished in the second.

Heading into the second quarter up just 27-26 and with Anthony Davis on the bench, the Pelicans dominated Greg Popovich and the Go Spurs Go to a tune of 34-17. After a Pau Gasol jumper brought the Spurs to within three at 42-39, the Pelicans closed the first half on a 19-4 run, which included a slew of sizzling passes from Rajon Rondo. New Orleans shared the ball beautifully, registering 11 of their 30 assists in the frame, and the Spurs, the number one rated defense against transition scoring, allowed 17 fast break points in just that second quarter, after allowing an average of just 10 FBPS per game.

In addition, it must be mentioned that Jrue Holiday and Nikola Mirotic came out hot, and the Pelicans even got the early advantage of a called technical foul on Pop and a clear path foul on Manu Ginobli.

Simply put, everything went the Pelicans’ way on a night where all five starters scored in double figures, and the final score 122-98 didn’t do justice to just how beautifully the Pelicans’ played on both ends of the court.

Next up? The Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the 2018 playoffs.

We wanted them and we got them.

The Blazers entered their matchup with the Utah Jazz with little to play for and still managed to comfortably beat on their home floor in the Moda Center. The Jazz, who had been on a 29-5 run since January, looked anything but locked in. Perhaps dismantling the Warriors just a day earlier had them off their game as that’s an incredibly difficult back-to-back to play at the tail end of an 82-game schedule.

The Blazers and Pelicans split the season series at two wins apiece, but Portland had the last laugh with a 107-103 victory in late March. If you may remember though, Anthony Davis sprained his ankle in that one and was significantly limited down the stretch of that game.

Portland is 28-13 at home this year, and that is where New Orleans will be asked to fetch a win first as the teams play the first two games in the Northwest. Although they had DeMarcus Cousins at the time, beating the Blazers in Portland in December was important for the psyche and will be something the Pelicans can reflect on when preparing for the upcoming games on Saturday and Tuesday.

Join David Fisher (Fish_TBW), Kevin Barrios (kevinbforbounce) and I (PrestonEllis) as we break down all the important storylines and matchups heading into this weekend.

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