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Jrue Holiday's Block Seals Game 1 Win For The Pelicans

This game was awesome last night as we saw MVP candidate Anthony Davis look exactly like that while Lillard struggled for Portland. However, the real story was Jrue Holiday and despite his 21 points, it was his defense that I’ll remember from this game.

Holiday is the best perimeter defender for the Pelicans and chased a handful of Blazers on the wing. He started the game on Evan Turner while Rondo took Lillard and then eventually Holiday ended up defending Lillard and even McCollum at times. But, it was this block at the end of the game that sealed it. As you can see in the video below he actually gets beat by a step on the cut before being able to recover and use his length to block the shot. He was absolutely incredible, finishing with 21 points and 7 rebounds while forcing Lillard and McCollum to go 13-for-41 from the floor. What you don’t see in the video though is right before this, Holiday poked the ball loose on a similar play to force the inbounds again.

Holiday is one of the more important players in the playoffs due to his ability to play on both sides of the ball and the fact the Pelicans continue to do this without DeMarcus Cousins. The former Kentucky big was supposed to be the other option on offense to help spell Anthony Davis, but now it falls on Holiday. Davis will continue to do his part as he finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks, but it will be up to Holiday to continue to chase the Portland guards and then hit buckets on the other end.

This was the first playoff win for the Pelicans since 2011. The last time they were in the playoffs they got swept by the Warriors in 2015 when they were the No. 8 seed.