(WVUE) - What we're seeing now before tip-off is just a fraction of what to expect if the Moda Center crowd gets going during Saturday night's game. The Pelicans will have to find a way to slow down Damian Lillard if they want keep the fans out of it, but that will be more than just a one-man job.
"When you have somebody like Anthony and Rondo and Solomon and Emeka down there, it takes more than one person. A scorer like that who can shoot 35-40 feet out and also get to the basket, it takes a team effort," said Jrue Holiday.
"Especially the last seven or eight games, we've been really locked in defensively and doing a good job. It's never been a problem with our offense, we were always sharing the ball and playing well. We just need to just set a tone from the beginning playing with a lot of physicality and play for 48 minutes," said Niko Mirotic.
Working in the Pelicans favor is how well they've played on the road this year.. winning just a week ago at in Golden State's Oracle Arena. They'll try to feed off the rowdy Portland crowd and use it in their favor.
"We have 24 road wins. That's the fifth best the league. We're capable of winning, and we have won here. We know that we're capable of doing it here in this arena. I don't think it's going to be easy. They understand the magnitude of the game also. And they understand what the homecourt advantage means. So we're going to get a great challenge. We'll have to play really good basketball, but we're capable of doing that," said Head Coach Alvin Gentry.
Coach Gentry went on to say that he expects the stars to step up on the playoff stage, but it's some of the role players, like an E'Twaun Moore or Nikola Mirotic, that can really help swing things in their favor.