Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers - December 30, 2013

Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers Game Preview

Nine days after playing one of the most entertaining games of the 2013-14 season, the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers square off for a second time in a Monday night game in the Crescent City. On Dec. 21 in Oregon, Portland posted a dramatic 110-107 victory over New Orleans, rallying from a 13-point first-half deficit. Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard connected on the game’s biggest basket, draining a deep three-pointer with 1:27 remaining to put the hosts in front 106-105. The Pelicans had two chances to force overtime, but three-point attempts by Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans rimmed out in the final few seconds.

Lillard, the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year, led Portland with a game-high 29 points. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, who finished as runner-up to Lillard in last season’s ROY voting, tallied 21 points. Evans also scored 21 points for the Pelicans to share team scoring honors. The Dec. 21 game at Portland also marked the New Orleans debut of 7-foot-2 center Alexis Ajinca, who accumulated a career-high 11 rebounds in just 17 minutes of playing time. Ajinca had played the previous two-plus seasons overseas, after initially playing for three different NBA teams from 2008-11.

The pair of Western Conference clubs will meet a total of four times this season, including a return trip to the Big Easy by Portland on March 14. The season series wraps up April 6 at Portland.

Following Monday’s home tilt vs. the Trail Blazers, the Pelicans will head back on the road for a four-game trip starting on New Year’s Day at Minnesota. New Orleans will continue on the trek with games at Indiana, Boston and Miami. The next NOLA home game is Jan. 8 against the Washington Wizards.

Pelicans Anthony Davis
Intriguing matchup: Power forward
Anthony Davis vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
Although Davis has also started at center for the Pelicans this season, he’ll at least occasionally be matched up with Aldridge, a player Monty Williams believes deserves consideration in the MVP race for his fantastic start to 2013-14. In the Dec. 21 Pelicans-Blazers matchup, New Orleans did about as well as it could’ve hoped in defending Aldridge, limiting him to just 8-for-24 shooting from the field. Davis had 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Trail Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge