NEW ORLEANS – It was a physical game in NOLA Tuesday night. The Trail Blazers started off hot and jumped out to 28-14 early lead over the Pelicans.
But, New Orleans didn’t go away quietly and the Pelicans were all business in the second half.
The Blazers held a two-point lead at halftime with most of Portland’s damage coming down low. At the break, the Blazers had 38 points in the paint to the Pelicans’ 28. New Orleans was on the attack in the second half, though, and ended up outscoring the Blazers in the paint, 56-44 through three quarters.
After the Pelicans went on a scoring tear in the third quarter, it was apparent that the Blazers weren't going to be able to complete the comeback early on in the fourth.
FINAL BOX SCORE: PELICANS 138, TRAIL BLAZERS 117
Here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday’s loss:
Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes:
The Blazers came out as if they meant business… But as the game went along, they were out of business…. stopped defending, didn’t get back on defense and never did find their touch from three-point range… and it’s getting to the point when Lillard doesn’t score big, they have a lot of trouble winning.
Trail Blazers Reporter Jamie Hudson:
It looked like there was more of concerted effort to swing the ball around a bit more for Portland, especially early on. Their impressive ball movement helped them take a 16-point lead in the first quarter.
But then, the third quarter happened. The Blazers struggled to get anything going offensively and it was quite the opposite for the Pelicans. Portland just wasn’t able to overcome the third quarter with New Orleans outscoring Portland, 41-21.
Also, Zion Williamson in person -- he looked better than advertised. He can bully anyone and everyone down low.
Trail Blazers Producer Chris Bukhardt:
What happened in the third quarter? Portland went from a two-point halftime lead to trailing by 20 in the blink of an eye. New Orleans stepped up its defense, while at the same time the Blazers defense disappeared. New Orleans did too much damage in transition. Portland would miss a bucket, fail to get back on defense, and the Pelicans would get an easy bucket. The frustrating part about the defense in the second half was that the team looked great in the first quarter. It's what allowed them to jump out to an early 16-point lead. But they need to find a way to sustain that for 48 minutes. This is a big road trip when it comes to the playoff standings, and they didn't play with the urgency of a team in desperate need of wins. If then don't pick up the victory in Memphis tomorrow then the road to the playoffs will become a whole lot rougher.
Up Next: The Trail Blazers visit the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Grizzlies at 5:00pm PT on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.
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