Team Records: Portland (29-32) at New Orleans (21-42)
Game Info: 4 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Portland -2
Refs: Derrick Stafford, Kevin Fehr, Gary Zielinski
The Skinny: Fresh off a blowout win over the Spurs on Friday, the Blazers look to get some vengeance for their worst loss of the season as they travel to face the struggling Hornets. Portland scored more points in the second half on Friday than they did in their last visit to New Orleans. The Hornets are running a three game losing streak but are often competitive even if they mostly lose.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers scored the fifth fewest points in franchise history, managing only 63 as the Hornets routed them in Portland’s worst game of the year.
Projected Hornets Lineup:
PF: Anthony Davis (Kentucky, Rookie) – 12.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, .9 APG
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest, 3rd season) – 7.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.4 APG
C: Robin Lopez (Stanford, 5th season) – 11.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, .8 APG
SG: Eric Gordon (Indiana, 5th Season) – 16.8 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 3.2 APG
PG: Greivis Vasquez (Maryland, 3rd season) – 13.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 9.4 APG
Player to Watch: Eric Gordon (pictured at right) – It has not been an easy transition for Eric Gordon. The centerpiece of the Chris Paul trade from the New Orleans perspective, Gordon has been consistently hurt ever since moving to New Orleans. After signing an offer sheet last season, the Hornets matched it and Gordon has not been living up to his end of the bargain. He’s a good scorer when healthy but his defense isn’t great, oh and he keeps getting hurt. Still, if he can stay healthy, he could be a key piece for the soon to be named Pelicans.
Did You Know?: Vasquez and Lopez are the only Hornets players to start every game this year.
Song of the Day: “The City of New Orleans” as performed by Arlo Guthrie. Seems appropriate for tonight’s game. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), Doubtful-SF Sasha Pavlovic (Quad), Questionable- SG Victor Claver (Ankle), C Meyers Leonard (Ankle).
New Orleans: Out –C Jason Smith (Shoulder). SG Austin Rivers (Hand).
Re-Evaluating New Orleans: Playing with Heart
Many bad teams just mail it in and simply collect their paychecks, too easily giving up when the going gets tough, such as Charlotte. New Orleans is not one of those teams. They rarely win but their point differential of only -3.6 shows that they usually fight hard. New Orleans may not have the talent to win games, which is why they are in full rebuilding mode, but you cannot accuse Monty William’s bunch of failing to give it their all. If only we could say the same about Portland on a nightly basis.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. The Blazers have fallen victim to some lazy stretches at times this season. If they can avoid those, they should get the win they want Sunday in New Orleans.
New Orleans wins if: They make at least 10 three-pointers. When the Hornets do well, they typically make a lot of three-pointers. With questionable inside scoring, the Hornets will have to be feeling it from deep to have a chance Sunday.