The Portland Trail Blazers will enter Christmas with a lump of coal in their stocking after falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 102-94 tonight. Carmelo Anthony led all scorers in the game with 23 points. CJ McCollum added 20.
Three-Point Parade Hijacked
The Blazers came into this game with a higher three-point percentage than the Pelicans (36.6% to 36.1%), but you wouldn’t have known it. Portland started out 1-12 on triples and only gradually improved to 4-29, 13.8%, for the game. “Improved to 14%” is all you need to know. New Orleans had no such trouble, connecting on 15-35 triples, for 42.9%.
Though the long-range game failed Portland, they found paint points under their tree. They earned a 48-36 advantage, which basically kept them afloat on an evening where everything else was even or much, much worse.
Failure to Rebound
New Orleans cultivated a 13-8 edge in offensive rebounds. This hurt Portland’s comeback attempt, plus worrying about it kept them bound to the lane instead of running or covering the arc. Portland’s deficit was also indicative of generally superior hustle by the visiting team all evening.
Carmelo Scores Big, but Is It Good?
Carmelo Anthony had a huge night, shooting 9-17 for 23 points. It’s hard to tell if it made much of a difference. The Blazers seemed content to dump the ball into him on the block, where he’d take a few dribbles and hoist a ‘Melo Special. They got points off of it and Carmelo was far more efficient than the other starters, but the offense also slowed down and got semi-predictable.
The 14-17 Blazers will line up against the Utah Jazz at 7:30pm, Pacific on Thursday the 26th.