Anthony Davis

Trail Blazers could make a move, but don't expect Anthony Davis

Trail Blazers could make a move, but don't expect Anthony Davis

Now that the season is over and it looks as if the Golden State Warriors are going to have to make a miracle move not to look like a mediocre team next season, the talk turns to the Western Conference and the most basic of questions:

Who’s next?

As the runner-up to Golden State in the playoffs this last season, the Trail Blazers would certainly be a logical choice. And that means there’s pressure on Portland to make the Big Move to push it over the top – something that might duplicate what the Raptors did when they acquired Kawhi Leonard.

And the trade that is being tossed around the most, of course, is for New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. And I would advise those wishing for the Trail Blazers to pull that one off to slow down and be a little more realistic.

The Blazers would probably be willing to go all-in on Davis but they just don’t have the chips to tempt the Pelicans. Or, more correctly, other teams have more to offer.

And let me say first, if you think the Trail Blazer brass hasn’t already thought of this and hasn’t already engaged in some discussions with New Orleans, you’re probably off base. I would assume by now a whole lot of teams have not only knocked on David Griffin’s door, but have been rebuffed.

There’s a reason the Lakers continue to be the most-talked-about destination for Davis. No, not LeBron -- although that's certainly a factor in Davis wanting to be there. They have the most to offer. Los Angeles could send the Pels two previous No. 2 picks in the draft along with the current No. 4 pick – as well as Kyle Kuzma. The Blazers would be offering high-salaried players who could provide cap room in one more year but I would also assume a team welcoming Zion Williamson doesn't want to think about cap space NEXT year.

It wants talent now.

So if Davis doesn’t land in Portland it doesn’t mean the team didn’t give it a shot. Those guys in the front office know exactly what’s out there for them in the West and are more excited about that prospect than you are.

And I do think the Trail Blazers will pull something off – and it will probably prove to be better than you thought it was going to be. That’s the way a lot of Neil Olshey’s moves have turned out over the last several seasons.

Who could they get? I have no idea. But I certainly didn’t know Jusuf Nurkic and a pick could be had for Mason Plumlee – and I had no idea Nurk would prove to be the player he’s become. I also didn’t expect Rodney Hood and Enes Kantor to show up here for the stretch run last season.

Olshey’s plan all along has been to prepare this franchise for the time when the Warriors drop off. The Warriors didn’t just drop off, though, they fell down in a heap due to injuries.

But the Blazers are closer to a Western Conference title now than they’ve been in a long time. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are in their prime and Jusuf Nurkic – when they get him healthy – is a force at both ends of the court.

Portland could still use more three-point shooting and a rim protector until Nurkic heals and to back him up after that.

You can play with one of those online digital trade machines all you want, but I’m not sure you really know which players to plug into it.

So my best advice would be to be patient and see what happens.

Trail Blazers active in NBA marketplace, but ...

Trail Blazers active in NBA marketplace, but ...

As the trade deadline nears, NBA sources indicate Portland Trail Blazes’ president of basketball operations Neil Olshey has been active. The team is being talked about as one that’s busy in the marketplace, looking to make something happen.

But obviously, that doesn’t mean anything is going to happen prior to the deadline.

Olshey keeps the doors closed, the windows covered and the phone calls private. The Portland front office is among the most buttoned down in the league. Any “rumors” of deals involving the Trail Blazers most likely didn’t come from the team – and probably aren’t true. In fact, recent speculation concerning trades for Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin were totally absurd.

But a few conclusions can be drawn from the team’s history and current situation as the deadline nears:

  • If you’re looking for a major deal from this team, you’d be wise to look for it next season, when the team will have approximately $37 million in expiring contracts to offer.
  • Sources say the Trail Blazers have shown a willingness to include a first-round draft choice, along with a player, in a deal, but you would assume it would be only for a player they perceive to be good enough to help make that pick more unattractive, due to his play down the stretch. And remember, there are only 30 regular-season games remaining,
  • I would hope there is a reluctance to give up a first-round pick for a player with an expiring contract. Taking a player with other options into signing a new deal after just 30 games here would not be easy.
  • Just because Paul George chose to stay in Oklahoma City after a one-year sampling with the Thunder, doesn’t mean that’s a trend in the league. Giving up a big piece of the future for such a player is a major gamble.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu is an attractive expiring-contract trade piece but is highly valued by the organization. I would not expect him to be dealt unless it’s a very big trade.
  • There are still a lot of teams in the hunt for playoff spots that may not be willing at this point to make deals involving their unattractive contracts. It’s too soon for some of them to start dismantling their roster.
  • Yes, the Blazers are slightly above the luxury-tax threshold but they have never seemed to be worried about it. Don’t expect a trade totally predicated on getting them under the line.
  • Anthony Davis? Well, if he doesn’t want to be in New Orleans – a solid team that swept the Trail Blazers in the playoffs last season and where he’s eligible for a super-max deal -- why would he want to be in Portland? And it would take a lot of assets to get him for what’s left of this season and next.
  • Just because you don’t hear that the team is working on something, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on. As I said, this is a closed-up operation.
  • Just because you don’t know the team’s plan, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Why Anthony Davis probably won’t sign extension anywhere

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Why Anthony Davis probably won’t sign extension anywhere

By Dan Feldman, NBC Sports 

On Monday, Jan. 28, the NBA world was woken up by yet another "Woj bomb": Anthony Davis had requested to be traded out of New Orleans. In his sixth year, the 25-year-old Davis has been nothing less than a nightmare-matchup for the other 29 teams in the league from the moment he steps into any NBA arena.

Davis is averaging 29.3 points per game to go along with 13.3 rebounds per game this season.

But his patience with the Pelicans franchise has apparently run its course. He is rumored to have the Los Angeles Lakers as his first choice, but one could argue that most teams are looking at cap space and contracts in order to acquire the five-time All-Star.  

Let’s break down Davis’ contract and the decisions he has on the table.

Davis' current contract ends in 2020 and any team trading for him is taking the risk of him just being a short-term rental. No matter who Davis plans to sign with, it appears he has made the decision to leave millions on the table. If he were to re-sign with New Orleans, his super max deal would be a projected five-year, $240 million deal. However, if he is traded and re-signs with that team the max deal is a projected five-year, $205 million deal. The deal would be worth even less if he were to re-sign with a different team in free agency. Leaving that much money on the table shows Davis is in win now mode. 

According to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman:

“Within six months of getting traded, the largest extension Davis could sign is just one year, $28,447,669. If he gets dealt then waits for that six-month period to expire, he could sign an extension worth up to $145,652,065 over four years. But because he’d have to wait, the team trading for him wouldn’t immediately get the security of locking him up longer-term. And Davis would already be out of New Orleans, so an extension would no longer be a tool to facilitate his exit. Which mostly defeats the point of an extension.

“Here’s how much Davis could earn on a super-max extension (blue), extend-and-trade (gold), extension six months after a trade (red), re-signing in 2020 free agency (purple) and leaving his team in 2020 free agency (green). The non-super-max extension salaries are calculated. The other salaries are based on the projected 2020-21 salary cap.”

"Whether or not he lands on a team he wants to re-sign with, it’s still financially prudent to reject an extension in favor of signing a fresh contract in free agency," says Feldman.

How badly does Davis want to be apart of a championship-contending team? Enough to sacrifice millions of dollars for? The Brow has much to think about...

Read the full story from NBC Sports here.

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for New Orleans Pelicans

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Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for New Orleans Pelicans

This is the second of three meetings between Portland and New Orleans this season.

 

Before tonight’s Western Conference showdown Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry addressed the media.

 

Blazers Injury Update: Maurice Harkless (left knee) and Caleb Swanigan (right knee) were listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. New Orleans. Coach Stotts said Harkless was “to be determined” while Swanigan will be inactive tonight.

 

***About a half hour before tip-off, the Blazers announced Harkless is available for tonight’s game.  

 

Coach Stotts also discussed the challenges that a healthy Anthony Davis brings to the Blazers’ defense.

 

“They’re a really good offensive team… They’re a top three offense. [Davis] is having a great year, single-handedly, but the team around him his really playing well. He’s a challenge to guard individually and as a team,” Stotts said.

 

In his last nine games, Davis is averaging 33.3 points per game to go along with 15.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.0 steals per game.

 

Hear from Coach Stotts right here:

 

Pelicans Injury Update: Earlier this month, Nikola Mirotic returned from a month-long absence due to an ankle injury. Coach Gentry says Mirotic will not play 38 minutes tonight, but he won’t be restricted to 25 minutes either.

 

Coach Gentry praised the Blazers backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, talking about how both Lillard and McCollum are great at creating their own shots in such a variety of ways and in so many different situations. 

 

Hear from Coach Gentry right here:

Game 3 disrespect has become snapshot of Blazers-Pelicans series

Game 3 disrespect has become snapshot of Blazers-Pelicans series

NEW ORLEANS –If there is a snapshot that captures this first round series, it was taken in the third quarter of Game 3, and later framed for all to see around the NBA.

Anthony Davis soaring in, untouched, and grabbing a rebound with his left hand and flushing it for a dunk. Trail Blazers’ center Jusuf Nurkic was literally floored, knocked to his hands and out of the way by Davis’ athletic and physical play.

In the aftermath of the play – which gave New Orleans a 79-60 lead – Pelicans’ guard Jrue Holiday stood at Nurkic’s feet and pointed in wide-eyed dismay at him. For a long time. Too long. 

It was everything this series had become: a laugher, an embarrassment for the Trail Blazers. And it underscored why it had become so lopsided: the Pelicans beating Portland to another ball, a Pelicans’ star shining while the Blazers remained frustrated. And overall, another example of New Orleans being more aggressive, more physical and more … everything.

“Outplayed us in every way,’’ Lillard would say after the Game 3 blowout. “Every way, man.’’

But what about that show of disrespect by Holiday? The pointing. The posing. The mockery of it all?

Fittingly, the Blazers were apparently oblivious to Holiday’s actions, even though they had a front row seat for it, and even though it was splashed across the internet Thursday night.

 “Huh?’’ Nurkic said when asked about it Friday. “I didn’t see it.’’

Damian Lillard?

“Did he? I didn’t see it,’’ Lillard said. “When things going well for you, you do stuff like that. That’s I guess kind of something you do when you are feeling really confident, you are feeling yourself a little bit. It’s not like we’ve done anything about it .’’

CJ McCollum was shown a clip of the play. He shrugged his shoulders and chose not to comment. 

And if the Blazers’ coach took offense to it, or thought anything of it, he didn’t say Friday as Terry Stotts was strangely made unavailable to the media even though he was 10 feet away from the camera and microphones, talking to Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations. 

According to a team spokesman, there wasn’t enough time for Stotts to talk, because the team had to practice, which ignored the fact that the team was more than 15 minutes late in arriving.

In all, Game 3 magnified what in this series has been a strange display by a team that prides itself on culture, hard work and accountability.

At least Lillard on Friday showed some spunk and fight as Saturday’s Game 4 neared. When asked about making adjustments, he said he wanted to see the Blazers adjust their physicality.

“They were up into us a lot. A lot more aggressive than we were and we didn’t dish it back out,’’ Lillard said. “I think in the playoffs and a situation like this, when a team is coming for you like that, you have to maybe go out of your way to do it back. Even if that means some foul trouble or some altercations happen out there or whatever, but when a team comes from you like the way they did after last game, maybe we just need to make it a point of emphasis to go back and get back at them.’’

The Blazers have tried talking about adjustments to counter the Pelicans’ traps and gameplan against the backcourt, but their plans are both not working and not being executed fully. 

“It’s easy to draw up and say this is what we want to do after you watch film,’’ Lillard said. “Then when you get out there and they are playing so disruptive … they’ve got their minds set on what they are going to do – it’s hard to execute it.’’

Defensively, the Blazers are in the spin cycle. Three different Pelicans have scored 30 or more points in the first three games – Anthony Davis (35 in Game 1), Holiday (33 in Game 2) and Nikola Mirotic (30 in Game 3) – all while Rajon Rondo has played the defense like a yo-yo.

So maybe there was nothing for Stotts to say, and no change in the game plan needed. 

“Coaches can only do so much,’’ McCollum said. “They are not guarding Mirotic, they are not guarding Jrue holiday, or Rondo, or any of these guys. So it’s on us. We just need to play better.’’

If they don’t, Game 4 will bring a sweep and more finger pointing in their faces.

Down and almost out, there isn't much the Trail Blazers can do to turn things around

Down and almost out, there isn't much the Trail Blazers can do to turn things around

Down and almost out, the Trail Blazers seem just as bewildered as you and me about the way their first-round series with New Orleans has turned out.

Just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. And there are no easy answers. Portland, a team so reluctant to use double-teaming as a defensive tactic, is just about completely befuddled by the Pelicans' double teams. A roster that rattled off a long winning streak during the second half of the regular season, is now incapable of getting the job done. The coach, once being talked about as a longshot candidate for Coach of the Year, is seemingly  not making necessary adjustments. The team's best player, being talked about as a possible first-team all-NBA selection, has been virtually shut down for three games.

What in the heck is going on here?

Well, I will address the problems as best I can and as directly as I can. They are many and sometimes contradictory:

  • If players are being double-teamed to the point Lillard is, other players obviously have to emerge to hit open shots. That's simple math -- two people guarding one person means another person should be open. But to take advantage of that, the ball must move quickly to the open man and the open man must be able to make an open shot.
  • Very often, the Trail Blazers invite the double teams with their high pick-and-roll. It makes it easy to simply blitz the screen and get the ball out of Lillard's or CJ McCollum's hands. Often, those players themselves call for that double team by calling for the high pick. New Orleans is obviously one of the best pick-and-roll defensive teams in the league, so... why not run something else? Why keep going back to something that isn't working?
  • The safety valve against double-teams in Portland's attack is almost always the big man coming to the foul line for a pass. He can then turn and face the basket, knowing he's going to be facing a three-on-two situation. The problem for the Blazers has been that it's been Nurkic in that position and he isn't a threat to make a shot from where he receives the ball. Consequently, his defender -- usually Anthony Davis -- is still free to roam the basket area. Perhaps someone else could play that spot who can make an open 20-foot shot?
  • And speaking of making open shots, the Trail Blazers have needed front-court shooting for two or three seasons now. You can tell me how well Al-Farouq Aminu is shooting all you want, but he isn't reliable or consistent and opponents still leave him open because they don't think he can convert. He's not a floor stretcher. The Blazers need long-distance shooting that will help open the court for Lillard and McCollum. This is not a new problem.
  • On the defensive end, the Trail Blazers continue to attempt to use Aminu to defend bigger players and it hasn't gone well. Against the Pelicans, it creates a terrible matchup for Jusuf Nurkic, who then must chase Nikola Mirotic around on the perimeter. While Aminu may do a marginally better job on Davis than Nurkic, the latter cannot come close to defending Mirotic, so it forces Nurkic to the bench in favor of a better defender. This is a defensive tactic by Portland that forces its third-best player, Nurkic, to the bench. And oh well, it may not matter because the Blazers aren't making good use of him on offense, anyway. If they don't get him out of that high pick-and-roll into one closer to the basket, he's not nearly as effective. He needs to catch close enough to the rim that he doesn't need to put the ball on the floor.
  • I believe there's also been a Portland effort problem in this series. For whatever reason, the Trail Blazers have been outhustled. This happened at times during the regular season but I don't understand it. Especially in the postseason.
  • The ball has to consistently move around the floor more often. When the Blazers are playing well, they move the ball and move bodies. Too often this season, things generate into the guards going one-on-one and in the playoffs, that's a hard way to win. When I talk to people around the NBA about this team, that's a criticism I hear often -- the guards are too dominant. But considering the shot-making ability of the forwards, can you blame them?
  • This thing has gone way off the tracks in the playoffs and I've outlined several things that are responsible. But the other thing that's gone unmentioned is that the Pels just might be this much better than the Trail Blazers.
  • What can be done at this point to change things for the better? The easy answer is nothing. But I'd at least like to see more effort in Game 4.

Trail Blazers don't show up in New Orleans in blowout loss

Trail Blazers don't show up in New Orleans in blowout loss

NEW ORLEANS – It was the fourth quarter, and the body language of Damian Lillard told the story for the Trail Blazers on Tuesday: Arms crossed, legs outstretched, eyes staring off in space.

Blowout losses, like the 100-77 beatdown New Orleans applied on the Blazers on Tuesday, can do that even to the best of leaders.

“Disappointed,’’ Lillard said thinking back to that moment. “I remember when I put my legs out, I thought ‘Maybe I should sit up so people don’t look at it’ but it was just how I felt at the moment … that we let it get away.’’

The Blazers’ late-season playoff push was derailed  with a no-show performance in New Orleans that was so poor that coach Terry Stotts sat his key players for the final 9:39 of the fourth quarter in order to rest them for Wednesday’s game at San Antonio.

The Blazers entered the game having won five of six and feeling like they were playing their best basketball of the season. But they turned in one of their worst performances of the season as only Lillard (29 points) and Shabazz Napier (10 points) finished in double figures.

The Blazers shot a season-low 30.3 percent for the game and scored a season-low 77 points. They also committed 16 turnovers.

The loss drops Portland (29-37) to 2.5 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot with 16 games remaining. New Orleans (27-40) moved to within five games of Denver.

With owner Paul Allen in attendance, the Blazers played one of their worst games of the season.

Allen Crabbe went 1-for-8, including 1-for-6 from three-point range. Jusuf Nurkic went 1-for-8 with four turnovers. Al-Farouq Aminu didn’t score. Maurice Harkless didn’t grab a rebound. And CJ McCollum went just 4-of-12 and didn’t make any of his three three-point attempts.

“We just didn’t make shots tonight, that’s pretty much it,” Crabbe said. “It just wasn’t our night.’’

Portland made one run in the second half, cutting a 20-point lead to 60-49 after Lillard scored 11 in a row, but after a timeout, New Orleans scored the next eight to essentially put the game away.

New Orleans took a 50-36 halftime lead, even though Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis left with about five minutes left in the second quarter to have his left ankle examined. His absence didn’t matter as Portland struggled with its shot (33 percent in first half) and with controlling the ball (nine turnovers). The 36 points was the second fewest first half points this season.

Davis came back to start the second half and finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds in 29 minutes on 5-of-15 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, but he shot only 9-of-22 from the field and 4-of-10 from the free throw line.

New Orleans improved to 4-6 since Cousins was acquired in a trade with Sacramento.

The defining stretch of the first half came when Portland went scoreless from 6:20 in the second quarter until 1:55 when Lillard made a driving layin. That ended a 12-0 Pelicans run that extended a 31-28 lead to 43-28.

The Blazers shot 20 percent in the first quarter (4-of-20) and had both of their starting forwards – Maurice Harkless and Noah Vonleh – forced to the bench with two fouls. 

Up next: Blazers at San Antonio, 7 p.m. Wednesday (KGW/ESPN)

Podcast:

Blazers shoot around: Aminu to play key role in defending Davis

Blazers shoot around: Aminu to play key role in defending Davis

NEW ORLEANS – Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he will consider using a twin-towers approach tonight against New Orleans, defending Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins with Jusuf Nurkic and Meyers Leonard, but he said he will more likely go with another strategy: Al-Farouq Aminu against Davis.

“I’m open to it (Nurkic and Leonard together), but Chief is my first option,’’ Stotts said. “Chief has guarded Anthony Davis in the past.’’

Stotts said he will not start Aminu – likely sticking with Noah Vonleh and Nurkic as his frontcourt – but the Blazers’ defensive ace will likely see the most time on the Pelicans’ star.

Aminu was hurt in the first meeting between the teams,  prompting Stotts to start Ed Davis alongside Mason Plumlee. Davis is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery and Plumlee was traded to Denver in February.

New Orleans is 3-6 since acquiring Cousins. One of the wins came while he was suspended for technical fouls, another he fouled out and the latest win – in overtime against Charlotte – he didn’t play for the final 9:25.

“It’s difficult to bring a guy into a team and learn things on the fly and get chemistry,’’ Stotts said. “ What has happened with us and Nurk, is the exception rather than the rule. Like I said, both are such talented players they are going to figure out what works and Alivin Gentry is such a terrific offensive coach. That part of it will come around but for the time being they are working on figuring it out.’’

Damian Lillard said the Blazers, who have won 5 of 6, need to capitalize on the mood of each team.

“We have to use that to our advantage: us playing the way we are and them trying to figure it out,’’ Lillard said. “We should come out and prepare for them to play well, because you never know, as good as they are to come out and explode on any given night.’’

Captain carry:  In the Blazers’ win Sunday in Phoenix, Stotts praised Lillard for shouldering the responsibility of carrying the team to victory.

“We willed us to that win,’’ Stotts said.

Lillard, who scored 28 of his 39 points in the first half, said he doesn’t feel any burden or responsibility to carry the team because he trusts his teammates. He went through each teammate – from Aminu to Maurice Harkless to Allen Crabbe to Shabazz Napier -- and remarked how everyone is contributing of late.

“So I don’t feel like I have to shoulder and carry the load,’’ Lillard said. “It’s more just leading and making sure we are sharp in our coverages, and making sure we communicating and managing the game more than anything else. Just trying to control it. Last game I felt like I did a good job of it.’’

Meyers mid-range:  One of the evolving aspects of the Blazers has been the mid-range game of Meyers Leonard, who has become effective with floaters and short jumpers of late.

Leonard said he found that coming off the bench into the game and then immediately taking a three was challenging. He said he finds he can get into a rhythm better by making a dunk or a short-range shot.

“I check in and get an open three and it’s not an easy shot to make,’’ Leonard said. “So I’m looking to play more in the mid-range because then the three’s become easier.’’

Stotts said it’s good for players to change their approach, and it reminds him of how Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki was constantly adapting.

“Meyers is reading the game, and the half-roll to mid-range is there for him,’’ Stotts said. “You have to change it up because the defense game plans for certain things. You can’t do the same thing all the time.’’

Shabazz shining: One of the subtle contributions recently has been the contribution of point guard Shabazz Napier off the bench, both offensively and defensively.

“I like the way he is running the team,’’ Stotts said. “I think he is really focused on getting guys shots, looking to the run the offense. Defensively he has always been a good defensive player for us.’’

Stotts said the major benefactor has been CJ McCollum, because it allows McCollum to play off the ball more.

Tonight's game: Blazers at New Orleans, 5 p.m. (CSN).

Trail Blazers unveil new lineup, but get same result in loss at New Orleans

Trail Blazers unveil new lineup, but get same result in loss at New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- New lineup, same result for the Trail Blazers.

The Blazers on Friday used a new starting lineup, but lost their third consecutive game, this time to the lowly New Orleans Pelicans, who rode the hot hand of Anthony Davis to a 113-101 victory at the Smoothie King Center. 

Looking to bolster a struggling defense, coach Terry Stotts started Ed Davis at power forward, and at least initially, it helped. It was Davis' first start in Portland and he guarded Anthony Davis, holding the Pelicans' star to a 1-for-6 start in the first quarter. But by halftime, Ed Davis was on the bench with three fouls and Anthony Davis had caught fire, hitting all six of his shots in the second quarter which helped the Pelicans extend their 31-28 first quarter lead to 64-51 at halftime.

[PODCAST: Breaking down the Blazer struggles]

By the end of the night, Anthony Davis had 38 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks and the Blazers had their third consecutive blowout defeat. The Blazers have trailed by 20 or more points in their last three games and have trailed by 17 or more in five of their past six games.

Portland fell to 7-7 while New Orleans improved to 3-10, its other wins coming at Milwaukee and at home against Boston. 

The Blazers' defense continues to be a problem. Portland entered the game with the NBA's second-worst defensive rating (108.5) and it doesn't figure to improve after allowing 56.3 percent shooting to the Pelicans. About the only positive trend on Friday was the Blazers' bucking their streak of 12 games of not outrebounding an opponent. On Friday, they outrebounded New Orleans 48-37.

The Blazers' problems on Friday extended beyond defense, as CJ McCollum (1-for-7) and Damian Lillard (5-for-15) struggled through the first half. Six of Lillard's misses were blocked by the Pelicans, who had seven total in the first half, which helped keep the Blazers at 36 percent shooting. 

Lillard finished with 27 points, but shot 8-for-24. McCollum had 24 points but was 7-for-18. Mason Plumlee had 13 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists and Ed Davis had 11 rebounds.

Next up: Blazers at Brooklyn, 12:30 p.m. Sunday (CSN)

Podcast: