The Pelicans are coming off a wild 147-140 loss to the Golden State Warriors on the road. It was the 3rd game of a current 5-game west coast road trip, from which the Pelicans stand 1-2. The Pelicans currently rank 2nd in the league in scoring (118 PPG) and 3rd in field goal percentage at 48.1%. Unfortunately, those numbers are only marginally better than the 115.5 PPG and 46.4 field goal percentage the defense is giving up. Superstar C Anthony Davis leads the team in scoring with 29.4 PPG, which ranks 3rd in the NBA. He also leads the team in rebounding (13.5 RPG), steals (1.8 SPG) and blocked shots (2.6 BPG). Both Jrue Holiday (20.8 PPG) and Julius Randle (20.1) are lending good support on offense.
The Portland Trailblazers come into this game with a 5-game home winning streak, which is wrapped around two losses on the road. While the offense sits mid-pack in the NBA in scoring at 112 PPG, the defense has only been allowing 110 PPG. It’s notable that in an NBA season where teams are averaging about 113 PPG, the Blazers have only allowed over 120 points 3 times in the last 26 games since the end of Novenber. That’s pretty consistent defense. G Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum lead the team in scoring with 26.2 PPG and 206 PPG respectively. C Jusuf Nurkic is having a nice season, averaging 14.8 PPG and 10.4 RPG to lead the team in that category.
Prediction: These are two of the better rebounding teams in the NBA, which means the Pelicans might not get as many second-chase point opportunities as they are used to getting. The fact the Blazers can play a little D and the Pelicans aren’t quite sure what to do at the defensive end of the court should be the difference here. Play Portland -2.5 (score – Portland 122-114)