Jason Smith out due to injury at Portland
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
PORTLAND - After starting each of the first 24 games of the 2013-14 regular season, New Orleans Pelicans center Jason Smith will be sidelined for the first time Saturday at Portland. Smith is out with a right knee bone bruise and is being listed by the Pelicans as day-to-day. Smith joins Greg Stiemsma (left knee sprain) on the team's inactive list.
Meanwhile, recent free-agent signee Alexis Ajinca will be active for Saturday’s game against the Trail Blazers. During pregame, Pelicans Coach Monty Williams indicated that there might be a change to the starting lineup, but it will likely be announced closer to tip-off at 9 p.m. Central/7 p.m. local time.
Other updates from the Moda Center in Portland:
• Anthony Davis will be one of the featured guests during Fox Sports New Orleans’ pregame show, which begins at 8:30 p.m. Central. Davis, who will be back in the starting lineup tonight, talks about his return from injury and his matchup with Portland star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
• Williams on Ajinca, who could make his Pelicans debut Saturday: “He’s matured a lot (since his first NBA stint) and has great footwork. He came highly recommended from some of his national team teammates.” Williams is close with French team standouts Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum, from Williams’ previous time with the San Antonio and Portland organizations, respectively.
• Portland Coach Terry Stotts on Davis: “He blocks shots, and offensively he finishes around the basket. He’s obviously very athletic. He’s a threat in pick-and-rolls, because he can roll and get to the basket. With their spacing, especially with Ryan Anderson on the court, it makes it tougher to cover the middle, with someone rolling to the basket. They’ve picked up the pace a little bit compared to last year. They’re middle of the pack in terms of pace. Their scoring is up from last year. I think they’re style is because of the personnel changes they’ve made, getting (Jrue) Holiday and (Tyreke) Evans. It gives them a different look than they had last year.”