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Road Trip Continues With Visit To New Orleans

by Cody Sharrett

The Portland Trail Blazers (22-19) continue a four-game road trip with a stop in the bayou to visit the New Orleans Pelicans (20-20) Friday night at Smoothie King Center. The two sides have split their previous two meetings this season, both played in Portland. 

After missing time with a calf strain, Damian Lillard returned to Portland’s lineup Wednesday night in Houston to score a team-high 27 points in a 122-112 loss to the Rockets. Lillard leads the Trail Blazers with 25 points per game to go with backcourt mate CJ McCollum’s 21.6 points per game this season. 

New Orleans is led by the big man tandem of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, both of whom rank in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding in 2017-18. Though Davis has played just five minutes versus the Blazers this season, Cousins is averaging 38.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games against Portland. 

“I don’t think we’ve really played well against them this season yet,” Lillard said at Friday’s shootaround  “I think we’re definitely capable of coming in here and getting a W, but there’s a lot of things we gotta do better: helping out bigs deal with Boogie [Cousins] and AD, and also dealing with those guys on the perimeter — we allowed [Rajon] Rondo, Jrue [Holiday] and E’Twaun Moore to have good games. To beat them, you can’t let every single one of those guys be effective.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific time on NBC Sports Northwest and Rip City Radio 620.