With one star out, and a former star trying to step in, the Portland Trail Blazers hoped to eke out a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans tonight. Instead they got stomped on. CJ McCollum scored 22 points, Nassir Little had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Carmelo Anthony had 10 points in his Blazers debut, but Portland still fell in the Bayou.
Portland had a one point advantage at halftime, but New Orleans used a dominant third quarter to take advantage of 17 Blazer turnovers to get the win. Jrue Holiday had 22 points for the Pelicans.
Here are tonight’s takeaways:
- Welcome to Portland, Carmelo: Anthony shot just 4-of-14 from the field, but instantly showed a level of offensive knowledge the young Blazers were missing. His defense fluctuated heavily throughout the evening, and foul trouble limited his minutes, but he brought a level of offensive court awareness that the team was missing without their captain.
- Turnovers served hot: Portland committed 17 turnovers, with over half of them coming in the second half. This squandered a hot night for the team from behind the arc, where they shot 55.2 percent. While Anthony led the team in miscues, some of them were solid decisions let down by his teammates. One pass into the paint was flawless, but it slipped right through Hassan Whiteside’s hands.
- Dirty, filthy glass: A night after getting schooled on the offensive glass by the Houston Rockets, the Pelicans continued the problem, pulling down 15 offensive rebounds as they outrebounded the Blazers 54-48. The lack of size continues to haunt the Blazers.
- Rookie battles: On a night where the eyes of the basketball world were on Carmelo, Nassir Little had a strong night for the Blazers. His energy on both ends was palpable. Pelicans rookie Jaxson Hayes dominated for New Orleans. The future is bright for both squads.
Portland has a dangerous match up against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.