Wednesday, March 29, 2023

NBA Preview: Portland Trail Blazers (31-36) at New Orleans Pelicans (32-25)

The Portland Pioneers will visit the New Orleans Pelicans in Sunday night with the two groups expecting to get up to speed assuming that they will fit the bill for the Western Meeting play-in round.

The Blazers are 13th, one game behind Oklahoma City and New Orleans, which are 11th and 11th, respectively. In the four-team play-in, those teams are one half-game behind the Utah Jazz for the final spot.

After failing to secure a victory on Friday night, Portland is attempting to finish the six-game road trip.500. In Philadelphia, the Blazers were defeated 120-119 despite having a 21-point lead over the 76ers.

With 1.1 seconds remaining, Joel Embiid hit a jumper from the foul line, and Portland couldn’t make a final shot after falling behind for the first time all night.

With 34 points, Portland was led by Anfernee Simons. Damian Lillard had 22, and Jerami Grant had 24.

The Pelicans’ most recent game was a loss, but they can’t say it happened by accident. On Saturday night in New Orleans, Oklahoma City held a 21-point lead and won 110-96. The team led nearly the entire game.

The Pelicans, playing without driving scorer Zion Williamson since early January, likewise played without second-driving scorer Brandon Ingram, who has a hyper-extended right lower leg. It is unclear whether Ingram will be available for Sunday’s game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 14 points in the first quarter to give the Thunder a 10-point lead at halftime, was unstoppable for New Orleans. He scored 35 points, and Oklahoma City was more aggressive when it came to going to the basket, scoring 11 more points at the foul line.

Oklahoma City had 12 turnovers, while New Orleans had 22. When the Pelicans committed a turnover, the Thunder outscored them 23-8.

The Pelicans and Blazers split their first two games this season, with the home team taking both contests by a score of 11 points. On March 27 in Portland, the season series will come to an end.

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