The hype behind the Portland Trail Blazers was warranted with the team finishing 3rd in the Western Conference with a record of 49-33 with Damian Lillard leading the charge averaging about 27 points per game, along with about 7 assists, and 4 rebounds according to the ESPN database. Nothing could go wrong for the Blazers going into the playoffs with the record and Lillard having a career year, but everything has gone wrong for the team in the postseason.

The Trail Blazers now face elimination versus the New Orleans Pelicans down 3-0 in the series, facing elimination today at 5:00 PM.

What has really happened to the Portland Trail Blazers?

Lillard locked down

Jrue Holiday has clearly gotten the better of Damian Lillard and has shut him down this series from what he can do for this Trail Blazers team. Lillard is getting tight coverage, not allowing him to shoot a far three and multiple bodies are swarming to him in the paint and he is getting pickpocketed by Holiday.

The other players for the Blazers have not done much either, while C.J. McCollum has fared better, the team still does not have enough offense. McCollum for most of the series has struggled equally. Other players like Jusef Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Evan Turner, and Maurice Harkless have not stepped up to the plate.

The big issue is that Lillard is the engine for this team and he has been completely shut down this series.

Playoff Rondo, other contributions

Many people did not see this coming and underestimated the New Orleans Pelicans. We did not get to see Rajon Rondo in the playoffs last year due to an injury, but his value has been shown this series as he is playing stellar defense along with Holiday shutting down the backcourt of the Trail Blazers and shooting the ball well.

Jrue Holiday is a star in the making.

Rondo has always been a terrific team player and he is a key to why the Pelicans are winning and they could reach the Finals in the tough Western Conference. He has been flirting with a triple-double in some of the playoff games showing his prowess.

The acquisition of Nikola Mirotic was another great idea as he is thriving in the offense shooting threes and scoring in transition.

Anthony Davis has also been playing well since the injury to DaMarcus Cousins, some even suggest that the offense is better with Cousins out of the lineup.

San Antonio Spurs face an early exit

The San Antonio Spurs also face early elimination from the playoffs against the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. The club has been without their star Kawhi Leonard for most of the playoffs and never stood a chance in the series.

After suffering lackluster playoffs last year, it is not the case this year as there have been many surprises already with the Cleveland Cavaliers possibly losing in the first round and the Utah Jazz surprising everyone this year behind rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell.

But the reigning Warriors look as vulnerable as ever with all their injuries and the Pelicans thriving, the 76ers looking good as ever, the Celtics fighting despite all the injuries to their team, and lastly the Houston Rockets with the best record in the NBA being a huge contender to win it all.