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Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans Preview

The Blazers will have to take on the Pelicans without Dame.

New Orleans Pelicans v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (8-3) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (6-5)

The Portland Trail Blazers didn’t always do it with style, but in the end they got the job done against the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 105-95 on Wednesday. On Thursday they’ll have to do it without Wednesday’s high scorer, Damian Lillard. There were times on Wednesday when Dame put the team on his back. Someone else will need to carry the load in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Pelicans are a good team but with a future so bright it can be hard to concentrate on the present. They could draft an entire new roster with the number of draft picks they have coming, so the possibilities for trades are staggering. Let’s not forget though, this team has CJ, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and a pretty solid supporting cast right now. This is a tall task for a shorthanded Portland team.

Blazers vs. Pelicans - Thursday, November 10 - 5:00 p.m. PT

How to watch on TV: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass

Blazers injuries: Damain Lillard (out), Gary Payton II (out), Olivier Saar (out), Jerami Grant (questionable) and Jusuf Nurkic (questionable), Shaedon Sharpe (probable) and Justise Winslow (probable)

Pelicans injuries: Larry Nance Jr. (questionable), Kira Lewis (out) and EJ Liddell (out)

SBN Affiliate: The Bird Writes

The Matchup

Who is going to play? With Damian Lillard out, fans of both teams are deprived of the on-court Dame-CJ matchup we all wanted. Now we have to wait for announcements on Nurkic, Sharpe and Larry Nance Jr. On the second night of a road back-to-back this was always going to be a tough game for the Blazers. Missing their leader and also possibly their starting center plus their impressive rookie might be a bridge or two too far for the Blazers. Still, one thing we’ve seen consistently this season is a never say die attitude, so let’s see what happens.

  • Lots of points. New Orleans scores the third-most points in the NBA at 118.2 per game but they also give up 114.3 points per game. The Blazers average 109.4 points while giving up 107.6. My guess is that the result will be closer to the Pelicans’ averages rather than the Blazers’.
  • Zion Williamson. A healthy Zion is a force to be reckoned with. He’s averaging 22.7 points per game, and most in New Orleans think that average will go up during the season. One problem he’s having is that his shooting percentage, 53.9%, is down from his career average. The Blazers would do well to keep him shooting around 50%.

What Others Are Saying

The future is bright for the Pelicans, and the present might not be too bad either writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

As a result of the AD and Jrue Holiday deals, the Pelicans have 13 future first-round picks over the next seven drafts, meaning they have the ammo to make virtually any trade they want to further bolster their roster. Factoring in potential for player development and personnel upgrades, the current Pelicans could be nowhere near their ceiling.

Aaron Kellerstrass of Pelican Brief has a review of how things have gone so far this season for New Orleans.

So even though the record is just 5-5, it’s mostly been good for the Pels, especially considering the early injuries to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. But there have been a few concerns as well and things we’d like to see more of as the season progresses.

The Pelicans are once again embracing a Mardi Gras feel for this year’s City Edit Uniforms.