The Best of the Day preview drives to the hoop with NBA tips for a intriguing clash between a bolstered Portland Trail Blazers and in-form New Orleans Pelicans. 

History: Played 67: Trail Blazers 34 V Pelicans 33

Last meeting: February 17, 2021: Trail Blazers 126 d Pelicans 124 at Smoothie King Center

Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview sees New Orleans Pelicans hunt their second top-six Western Conference scalp in three days when they head to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers.

The 11th-placed Pelicans improved to 17-22 with a stirring 135-115 upset of the Clippers. Zion Williamson (27 pts, 5 ast), Brandon Ingram (23 pts, 5 ast) and Lonzo Ball (20 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast) starred in a stellar offensive display.

It was the second win on the trot – after losing 10 of their previous 14 – for New Orleans, who trounced the Cavaliers 116-82 two days earlier. The Pelicans are chasing three straight wins for just the second time this season.

The 22-16 Trail Blazers have meandered out of the All-Star break with two losses in three games. After a first-up 127-120 loss to the Suns, they split a back-to-back assignment in Minneapolis. The Blazers narrowly beat the Timberwolves 125-121 before going down to the same opponent 114-112.

Damian Lillard, who averages 29.9 points and 7.9 assists, has been attempting to carry an injury-hit team. But the big news ahead of this game for Portland is the return of CJ McCollum after two months on the sidelines.

After losing all four games between the teams last season, the Trail Blazers overcame the Pelicans 126-124 in New Orleans last month.

Lillard went off for 43 points and 16 assists for the Blazers. Williamson (36 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast) was the beaten Pels’ best.

The Blazers are 11-7 at home (7-11 ATS), winning six of their last eight at Moda Center. The Pelicans are a dismal 5-12 on the road (7-10 ATS). This is their first away game in March.

In a clash between two top-eight offences and bottom-five defences, Lillard is set to lead his team to a key Best of the Day W with his right-hand man back on the court.

Tip: Handicap – Trail Blazers -2.5 @ $2.00