New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pelicans Win Convincingly Versus Portland Trail-Blazers

Mar 14, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) drives past Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) drives past Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans steppedup on both ends and let their strong defense lead them to a convincing win over the Blazers.

To put it simply, tonight’s game became a festivity of fun and enjoyment for the New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans had six players put up 10 points and held Portland to 30.3 percent shooting from the field in a convincing 100-77 win.

Tonight’s game became a dominating defensive effort for the Pels. The Blazers could not score 25 points in a single quarter tonight. That did include two quarters, where they were held to under 20 points.

New Orleans, on the other hand, put up points in bunches on the offensive end. The Pelicans shot 47.5 percent from the field and saw great production from their supporting cast. The non-big three shot 20-37 tonight, making over 50 percent of their looks.

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New Orleans was the aggressor all night, yet were still able to be careful and precise in their offense. The Pelicans turned the ball over only five times in the game, while forcing 16 turnovers on the Blazers.

While Portland finished with only three steals and a block, New Orleans stole the ball 10 times and swatted eight shots away from the basket.

Even with another injury scare halfway through the game, Anthony Davis once again looks fantastic for New Orleans. After returning from a sprained ankle after halfway, Davis finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds. three blocks and two steals.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Pelicans in scoring, with 22 points. He would also finish with nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks of his own. Jrue HolidayE’Twaun MooreJordan Crawford and Solomon Hill would all finish with at least 10 points of their own.

The leader of the Blazers would be Damian Lillard, who put up 29 points on 18 shots.

B. Jrue Holiday continues to be a player struggling with his new role. It’s more so becoming of him trying to move down to a third-option, from his past days being the Robin to A.D.’s Batman. Holiday only took six shots and only had two assists in the game, as he tried to defer the option to Davis, Boogie and whoever else felt the hot hand. It was an odd feeling, but his defense made up for most of that. While Lillard did make some shots, Holiday limited his effectiveness and worked hard on the switches. Good game still from Jrue, especially with only two turnovers.. PG. . JRUE HOLIDAY

C+. Another player who was signed to a 10-day starting for the New Orleans Pelicans. Unlike others, however, Wayne Selden Jr. was in his first NBA game. Overall, he played how you would expect a newcomer to play. Careful, nervous and trying to find any kind of rhythm to help. He did have three rebounds and got to the line on two different occasions. His defense was okay, but he did finish with four fouls in 15 minutes. It will take another game or two to see if he has any sustainability in this league, but a decent NBA start for Selden.. SG. . WAYNE SELDEN JR.

B+. This is the second straight game Solomon Hill has put up at least 10 points, with 12 coming tonight. He shot 4-5 from the field and made two triples in the game. Who know if this is the real deal or just an outlier for his actual expected production. Hill does look much more confident in his shot and is actually looking for drives to the rim. It’s a great adjustment to see on offense. His defense also continues to be an underrated positive to his game, as he blocked two shots tonight as well. Great night overall from Solo.. SF/PF. . SOLOMON HILL

. ANTHONY DAVIS. A-. Anthony Davis gave the fans a mighty scare tonight, after he left the game in the second quarter with a twisted ankle. However, the x-rays came back negative and he returned to the game. His performance tonight will go underrated, because of his lack of point production. Still, 15 rebounds and some great defensive work on the quick Blazer guards really stamped this game for New Orleans. He also threw down what could the Pels dunk of the year, when he 180-degree slammed a Boogie alley-oop pass to him, with the defense contesting.. PF/C

A. DeMarcus Cousins sure looked like he was having fun tonight. His performance was one of joy. It’s something we have yet to see from him on this New Orleans Pelicans team. The offense was clicking and he absolutely dominated whoever the Blazers put on him. He’s a superstar in this league. Tonight showed just what this team can do when both he and A.D. are clicking on offense and defense. Fantastic showing.. C. . DEMARCUS COUSINS

B-. Tim Frazier saw minutes against his ol’ buddy from Portland in Damian Lillard. In the game, Frazier became the leading passing for the Pels, finishing with seven assists. He also ended the game with five rebounds, as his scrappy play continues to be a shining light on his overall impact. Frazier is a good backup point guard in the league and showed what he can do when he’s on his game. Great passer and pesky defender, with capabilities to rebound and shoot.. PG. . TIM FRAZIER

SG. . JORDAN CRAWFORD. B. His shots can look ugly at times, but boy does Jordan Crawford have a talent for putting the ball in the net. Crawford finished with 13 points on 5-11 shooting and made two triples on the night. Crawford’s defense is even getting better with each game too. Jordan has scored at least 10 points in every game since joining the Pelicans, which is giving the Pelicans better results. His signing has been the best one so far, since the Boogie trade.

. E'TWAUN MOORE. B+. E’Twaun Moore is a vital player to this bench unit. He does not stuff the stat sheet, yet his incredible defense and capability to fill whatever role is needed gives this team a lot of flexibility on the bench. Moore finished with 11 points on 5-9 shooting and three assists. He is able to attack the defense, make effective floaters in the lane and move the ball around to find the open man. He even rebounded the ball three times as well. He does it all off the bench and had a fantastic game tonight.. SF/SG

DANTE CUNNINGHAM. B. Dante Cunningham had 10 rebounds tonight in 25 minutes. For a guy who is playing a power forward position undersized, that’s incredible. His box-outs are the best on the team and he shows some of the best effort in the entire league. This is a guy who loves the game and wants to be in this league for a long time. He also shot 3-4 from the field and was very effective on both ends. Just like all the Pelicans tonight, a solid showing for Dante.. PF/SF.

Final Thoughts:

  • Alexis Ajinca and Donatas Motiejunas would both play less than six minutes. Ajinca played, due to Davis’ injury scare. Donuts played garbage minutes, once the game was secure.
  • This was the most convincing win since the DeMarcus Cousins trade and boy did the Pelicans need this one. With hopes diminishing fast, New Orleans needed to make a statement. This was certainly one. Now, they need to stretch this into a big run, if they want to revive their playoff hopes.

The New Orleans Pelicans will get a chance to start a winning streak tomorrow, as they travel to Miami to play the Heat. Tip-off is on schedule for 6:30 p.m. CST.