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.
13:00 (AEDT) @ Moda Center, Portland
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.
Home sweet home.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 16, 2021
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.
Best shooting night (65.4 FG%) in the #NBA this season.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 15, 2021
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.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 15, 2021
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.