Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Pelicans +2.5, Trail Blazers -2.5
Tonight’s matchup between the Pelicans and Blazers at the Moda Center is for a playoff spot. New Orleans (30-32) is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference. That’s the final play-in spot. Portland (29-32) is one-half game behind in 11th place. The Trail Blazers could put themselves in 10th with a win tonight at home.
The first game between these two teams was won by Portland in the middle of November. A lot has changed since then. Injury-related setbacks have plagued New Orleans more than any other NBA club this year. Larry Nance Jr., Jose Alvarado, Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson, and Josh Richardson are all expected to miss this game due to injuries. The Pelicans have lost their last three games and are clinging to the final play-in tournament position.
Portland will play on the second night of a back-to-back, so the Blazers will have that working against them. Damian Lillard and company had a strong start Tuesday night against the Warriors, but they let a 23-point lead slip away and lost 123-105.
The Trail Blazers now travel back to their home arena, where they are only 17-14 SU this year. Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, and Justise Winslow all missed last night’s game due to injury, indicating that injuries are a problem for them as well. All three players are once again listed on the injury report as out for tonight.
Another problem is exhaustion, particularly for Lillard, who appeared to run out of steam yesterday night after his 71-point performance against Houston on Sunday. Both teams will face challenges in this game. Both teams have struggled lately, but Portland has the advantage in head-to-head matches, having won 13 of the last 20 at the Moda Center.
Portland is just 3-6 SU and ATS in its last nine games. New Orleans is even worse going 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games. The Pelicans are also 1-9 SU in their last 10 road games.
The last five straight games in this series have gone Under the total. In those five games, the teams have combined for an average of 209.6 points per game. However, neither team appears to be playing any defense as of late. Five of the last seven Portland games have gone Over the total. The Blazers allowed an average of 124.4 points per game over those seven, nine points more than their season average.
This season at home, the Over is 19-11-1 for Portland. New Orleans trends Over for the season (33-29 O/U) and the Pelicans’ road O/U record is 19-12. That could be an indication of things to come. Former Trail Blazer C.J. McCollum has averaged over 20 points per game in three games since being traded to New Orleans from Portland. Lillard’s last four games against the Pelicans? He put up 39, 36, 50, and 43.
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