Jrue Holiday claims Nikola Mirotic gave him the night off
Nikola Mirotic’s blistering shooting night was the key to unlock a 3-0 lead for the New Orleans Pelicans, who hope to close out the series at home and get some well-deserved rest before heading into the second round.
The 6-foot-10 marksman was a white-hot 12-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from deep, but his night didn’t end with his high scoring, adding eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, and a block — rounding out an all-around great night.
“He gave me the night off,” said point guard Jrue Holiday, who was the star of Game 2, according to Will Guillory of the New Orleans Times Picayune. “I didn’t have to score as much. If he’s playing like that, then we’re definitely hard to beat.”
The Pelicans have taken turns to share the credit in this series, winning Game 1 with the playmaking mastery of Rajon Rondo, Game 2 with Holiday’s shot-making and stout defense, and Thursday night’s game under Anthony Davis’ 28 points and 11 rebounds and Mirotic’s hot perimeter shooting.
New Orleans is in a good position to close out the series at home, having won three games in a row and figuring out how to stop the Blazers’ offense.
“It really helps when the crowd is locked in the way it was,” said head coach Alvin Gentry after the game. “I don’t think they know how much they help us when they bring that much energy.”
Whether it was a king’s welcome at the Smoothie King Center or Mannie Fresh making an appearance for this first-round game, the Pelicans have all the momentum heading to Game 4, with all their working parts clicking at the right time.