NBA: Dynamic pair dominate as Pelicans sweep Trail Blazers, rookie Simmons stars for Sixers against Heat

New Orleans Pelicans centre Anthony Davis (#23) going for a layup against Portland Trail Blazers centre Jusuf Nurkic during the NBA playoff match on April 21, 2018.
New Orleans Pelicans centre Anthony Davis (#23) going for a layup against Portland Trail Blazers centre Jusuf Nurkic during the NBA playoff match on April 21, 2018.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

MIAMI (AFP) - Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday combined to post one of the greatest duo performances in NBA history, as the New Orleans Pelicans beat Portland 131-123 to sweep the Trail Blazers from the play-offs on Saturday (April 21).

Elsewhere, Australian Ben Simmons became the first rookie since 1980 with a triple double in a play-off game, helping spark the Philadelphia 76ers over the Miami Heat 106-102.

In Utah, Ricky Rubio had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Donovan Mitchell added 22 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference series.

Also, Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, as the Minnesota Timberwolves toppled the Houston Rockets 121-105 in game three for their first play-off win in 14 years.

At the Smoothie King Centre in Louisiana, Davis delivered a franchise playoff-record 47 points and Holiday tallied 41 to equal the NBA record (88) for most points by a pair of team-mates in a single play-off game as the hosts Pelicans eliminated West third seeds Portland in four straight games.

"We put the ball in these guys' hands and they delivered for us," said Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo.

The 88 points allow them to join John Havlicek and Jo Jo White in the 1973 post-season and it beat Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's best total together by one point.

"Their stars really put on a show tonight," said Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

The pair scored 28 of the Pelicans' final 29 points in Saturday's contest. Holiday nailed an 18-foot pull-up jumper that gave the Pelicans a six-point lead with 40 seconds remaining.

Rondo added 16 assists and Davis also had 11 rebounds and three blocks for New Orleans.

The Pelicans' series sweep of the Trail Blazers moves them into the second round for only the second time since the NBA returned to the city 16 years ago.

C.J. McCollum led Portland with 38 points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27, Damian Lillard added 18 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Simmons scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and passed off 10 assists while J.J. Redick had 24 points to lead seven double-digit scorers for the Sixers, who seized a 3-1 edge over the Heat in their Eastern Conference best-of-seven opening-round series.

The Australian became the first rookie since Magic Johnson to manage a triple double in a play-off game and at 21 is the third-youngest to accomplish the feat after Johnson and Cleveland's LeBron James.

Triple double

He is also the first 76er with a play-off triple double since Charles Barkley in 1991.

And it came in a game where he was involved in a second-period scuffle.

After Philadelphia's Robert Covington inflicted a hard foul upon Miami's Goran Dragic, the Heat's James Johnson took issue and shoved Covington, which prompted Simmons to confront Johnson as coaches and players entered to contain the melee.

Simmons received a personal foul for his trouble while Covington and Johnson were hit with technical fouls.

Joel Embiid, the seven-foot (2.13m) Cameroonian centre, added 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots for the 76ers in his second game back after an orbital bone fracture around his left eye. He missed the first two games of the series but returned wearing a protective face mask.

Dwyane Wade came off the Miami bench to score a game-high 25 points, but the Heat face elimination in game five on Tuesday at Philadelphia.