New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 9 PM CST (NBA TV), Monday
The Portland Trail Blazers are heating up, despite a tattered roster and a thin frontcourt. It hosts the New Orleans Pelicans at 9 PM (CST) Monday on NBA TV. Check Maddux Sports for the most up-to-date betting odds on NBA basketball!
NEW ORLEANS NEWS & NOTES:
The New Orleans Pelicans are just 7-23, New Orleans has had some injury issues, or one major one anyway: Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, has yet to play this season. Even without him, and with a losing record, the Pelicans have quite a few reasons to be encouraged.
Paramount in those “encouraging aspects” is one Brandon Ingram. He has nearly doubled his scoring average as a Pelican, showing all of the promises he was initially thought to have when the L.A. Lakers selected him No. 2 overall. Ingram is averaging 24.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks/steals, and those notions of a “Next Kevin Durant,” no longer look absurd as they did during his tenure as a Laker.
Jrue Holiday has quietly been sensational, as well. He is averaging 19.3 points per game, five rebounds and 2.7 steals/blocks, making his biggest impact on the defensive end but still (clearly) scoring the ball just fine. JJ Redick stepped up with Josh Hart out due to injury, but now that Hart has returned, expect Redick’s role to recede at least a little.
Hart has been a big threat on the boards at just 6’4”, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game to go with his 11.2 points per game.
Lonzo Ball has also been plenty of encouraging and exciting. He is averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 assists per game and his 2.4 A/TO ratio is solid. The Pelicans could be a major threat if Williamson returns healthy and clicking on all cylinders— the rookie looked great in the preseason, even if there is already a black cloud lingering over his career, in terms of health.
PORTLAND NEWS & NOTES:
Portland has won four straight. It has knocked off Phoenix, Golden State, Orlando, and most recently, the Minnesota Timberwolves, 113-106 on Saturday night.
Carmelo Anthony has been the headliner for news in Portland, and the free-agent acquisition seems to be nothing but good for the Blazers’ rotation. Melo is averaging 16 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 30.3 minutes a night through his first 14 games. It has pushed Mario Hezonja back out of the starting lineup, where he was having his struggles. The Blazers also seemed to legitimately have added a true No. 3 option behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combine to average 48.3 points and 11.2 assists per game in the backcourt.
The Blazers are arguably a better team on paper this year than last, but injuries have prevented it all from fully translating. Hassan Whiteside is something of an upgrade over the injured Jusef Nurkic, but losing Zach Collins to injury was a bit of a blow to a team thin on frontcourt depth. Rodney Hood has been a pleasant surprise as a second-unit scorer, though, with his 50.6 percent shooting and 11 points per game. The Blazers simply need a healthy roster before it can build the chemistry and momentum that it really should.