The New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers begin their NBA playoff series tonight in Portland.

The series features two of the best players in the league, New Orleans Anthony Davis and the Trail Blazers Damian Lillard. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry says his guys will need to play well on the defensive end.

This will be the Pelicans first trip to the NBA Playoffs since 2015. They were swept in the first round that year by the Golden State Warriors. Not many expect the Pelicans to be swept this year, but there aren't many who are picking New Orleans to actually escape the first round either.

Davis will have help around him in the playoffs this year, even though All Star DeMarcus Cousins was lost to a season-ending injury earlier this season. The off season addition of Rajon Rondo has been paying off for the team, not just with veteran leadership, but on the stat line too. Over his last 10 games, Rondo is averaging a double-double with 10.5 assists per game, and 10.8 points per game.

Rondo's presence has also allowed Jrue Holiday to focus more on scoring. He's averaging 19 points per game this season, above his career average of 14.9 points per game.

Another veteran presence that will likely help heading into the playoffs is 35-year-old Emeka Okafor. The veteran center will allow Anthony Davis to get some rest when needed, while being able to offer some added defense around the rim, and the ability to get a couple extra rebounds that could really benefit the team down the stretch.

Tip off tonight is at 9:30pm Central.