Where do the Blazers have an advantage?
Jake: The ability to get points in bunches. 3-point shooting can be the great equalizer in a game and Portland has some guys who can get hot and absolutely pour it in from deep. Sometimes it’s a numbers game and 3’s are worth more than 2’s. If Portland goes on a streak it could be tough for the Pelicans to match that offensive output.
Jason: Lillard, a top-5 scorer in the NBA, has proven that he can heat up at any time and leave an opposing team in his dust as he drops 40+, shooting Jimmer Fredette-range threes. Not only that, but Lillard has playoff experience that few Pelicans have, and he’s actively been a part of playoff success before. Just ask the 2014 Rockets. Also, the 7-foot, 280-pound Nurkic could potentially be a matchup problem, but even more so if Lillard has one of his unfairly hot shooting games.
Rory: Playoff experience. The Pelicans have overcome a laundry list of mental toughness issues this season, but that was the regular season. This is the post-season. The dramatically intensified pressure could cause things like third-quarter collapses to once again rear their ugly head. Rondo and Clark have extensive experience, but it may not be nearly enough to help the Pelicans win the mental game.
Alex: Depth in scoring. One of they keys in the games these teams have played this season is that Lillard and McCollum did not have a game where they both went off on offense. Beyond the two star guards, Napier and Turner (assuming Harkless comes back) off the bench can keep the Blazers offense going when Jrue/Davis have to take breaks and the Pels defense takes a step back.