The opponent came back from the All-Star Break. The home team did not.
CJ McCollum had 27 points and 10 assists, but also 5 turnovers. Carmelo Anthony had 20. New Orleans got 25 points from Zion Williamson, and shot 52.9 percent from three as a team.
Here are tonight’s takeaways:
- Blazers Will Miss Lillard: They will also miss a lot without him. Damian Lillard was out, and will miss the next several games with a groin injury. The Trail Blazers shot just 10-of-27 from three, with McCollum shooting 3-of-8 and Anfernee Simons 0-for-4. Overall they shot just 44.6 percent from the field. The lack of their captain and leading scorer was apparent all evening.
- Unforced Errors: The team committed 14 turnovers as a team, but the way many of them were committed was the difficult part to watch. Passes to unaware players, tipping a rebound out of bounds when there were no opposing players nearby, kicking the ball into play and trying to get away with it (perhaps Trevor Ariza has a future with the Timbers?). Turnovers are a part of the game, especially with experts thieves like Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday, but far too many did not need to occur.
- Foul Woes: All of the players bigs were in foul trouble for most of the game dealing with Williamson. Hassan Whiteside, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan all got big man minutes to keep the nine-player roster intact.
- Rally Cut Short: Portland got back into the game late in the third quarter, cutting the lead to three before it was snuffed out. A 22-6 Pelicans run at the end of the quarter, punctuated by a Josh Hart buzzer-beater put an end to the Blazers hopes.
- Back From Injury: Nassir Little returned from an ankle injury, contributing 9 points and solid defense.
Portland takes on the Detroit Pistons at home on Sunday.