Saturday’s NBA preview breaks down the feature game between the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans, along with NBA tips for all other matches being played today. 

NBA Tips – Portland Trail Blazers V New Orleans Pelicans

11:00 (AEDT), Fri 15th Mar @ Sat 16th Mar @ Smoothie King Center

History: Played 61: Trail Blazers 32 V Pelicans 29

Last meeting: January 18, 2019: Trail Blazers 128 d Pelicans 112 at Moda Center

Final Thoughts: The Portland Trail Blazers are jostling for position in a congested top half of the Western Conference. The New Orleans Pelicans are in 12th – and no chance of reaching the playoffs, where they trounced the Blazers last season.

The 41-26 Trail Blazers are fifth in the West, but only a win off third. After a poor start to March, they have won their last two against the Suns (127-120) and Clippers (125-104).

CJ McCollum top-scored with 35 in the road win over the Clippers. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard put 51 points in last week’s OT loss to the Thunder.

The 30-40 Pelicans started March on a three-match winning streak. But they have now lost four straight by 10-plus margins, to the Jazz, Raptors, Hawks and Bucks.

Elfrid Payton has notched triple-doubles in his last two games and Julius Randle is racking up decent scoring stats, but wantaway superstar Anthony Davis continues to produce subpar numbers. The Blazers were rumoured to be a potential trade option for AD in January.

The Blazers have gone some way towards atoning for their 4-0 loss to the Pelicans in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Portland have won both encounters so far this season – 132-119 and 128-112, both at home.

But the Blazers have nevertheless lost five of their last six gams in New Orleans.

The Pelicans are 18-15 at home this season but have lost four straight at Smoothie King Center. The Trail Blazers are a modest 16-17 on the road but have won six of their last eight away games.

It’s hard to go past Rip City here with every win ultra-valuable from here on out.

Tip: Handicap – Trail Blazers -7.5 @ $1.92

OTHER GAMES

 TEAMS
Charlotte Hornets V Washington WizardsResult – Wizards
LA Lakers V Detroit PistonsMargin – Pistons 1-10
Sacramento Kings V Philadelphia 76ersMargin – 76ers 11-20
Milwaukee Bucks V Miami HeatResult – Bucks
Phoenix Suns V Houston RocketsHandicap – Suns +13 @ $1.92
New York Knicks V San Antonio SpursMargin – Spurs 11-20
Chicago Bulls V LA ClippersHandicap – Bulls +8.5 @ $1.96