LEGACIES are defined in the postseason. Big moments from big time players in big games is what we as basketball fans live for. Of course, you can’t create such moments if you don’t qualify for the postseason. Following a February surge both the Portland Trailblazers and New Orleans Pelicans not only find themselves in prime positioning for a playoff run, but their All-Stars Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis look literally unstoppable.
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THROUGHOUT the last ten games both squads have gone an impressive 9-1 to storm into top-4 spots amongst the Western Conference. The surge is impressive from both sides, but even more impressive from the Pelicans as it comes without DeMarcus Cousins in uniform. Since Boogie went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, Anthony Davis has become a one-man wrecking ball.
WHEN you look at Anthony Davis’ box scores it’s easy to see why NOLA is riding a nine-game winning streak. In the last 10 outings, Davis is averaging absurd numbers, virtually putting up 35 points, 14 rebounds with over 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals a game. I’ll be honest, when Cousins went down I immediately assumed that the Jazz or the Clippers would push their way into the playoffs, but ‘The Brow’ has put New Orleans on his back. It’s a nice change to see Davis healthy and reminding us just how good a player he can be when he strings consecutive games together. Did somebody say MVP?
FOR all the winning they have done lately, the Pelicans still trail the Portland Trailblazers in the standings, who have their own superstar en fuego right now. In the same stretch as Davis, 3x All-Star Damian Lillard has averaged a league-best 35.4 points a game shooting 43% from deep and scoring 20+ in every contest. Lillard doesn’t have the same big numbers in other categories as Davis, but there is no-one hotter scoring the rock right now.
LILLARD has the Blazers poised for a decent playoff run if they can keep up this win rate. Once again I didn’t expect Portland to be in this spot and instead I thought they would finish much closer to .500. They are making me eat my words right now. They have a reasonably tough schedule still remaining with 10 of their remaining 17 games against current playoff teams, including another match against both conference champions from a season ago. New Orleans also has their work cut out for them with 11 out of 19 remaining games against playoff contenders.
IT is worth mentioning that Davis/Lillard have had support from their teammates during their teams’ winning stretch of matches. Jrue Holiday (23.5 PPG) and C.J. McCollum (20.8 PPG) are proving to be key crucial parts in supporting their teammates as they true to hold off the steep competition out West for playoff seedings.
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IF I was a betting man I would predict that neither of these two teams will remain inside the top-4 once the regular season winds up, given their remaining games and just how close the race for playoff spots is in their conference. However, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard may continue to help their teams defy logic. They are having their way with the competition at the moment and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
THE duo is set to square off again in about three weeks time at the Smoothie King Center. Will both teams be riding their huge winning streak into the game? Unlikely. But there’s no reason why Lillard and Davis won’t still be flexing on the entire league putting up eye-popping stats to close out 2018.
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