The NBA is set up with a solid Thursday night of action throughout March 18. Six games are up on the board throughout March 18. One of these games will be between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trail Blazers. These two teams have had opposite starts to the season, but will both look for a big win. This game will tip off at around 10:00 PM Eastern time.
New Orleans has started out this season with a record of 17-23, which has them sitting in eleventh place of the Western Conference. The Pelicans are coming off a loss in their last game, which ended a two game winning streak. New Orleans will look to get back on track with a win in this one. I expect the Pelicans to come out hot as they try to get back in a playoff spot.
The Trail Blazers have put up a record of 23-16 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the Western Conference. Portland is only two games back from jumping into the fourth seed. The Trail Blazers are coming off a win in their last game and will look to build upon it in this one. I expect a good game from Portland in this one.
These two teams are sitting in opposite parts of the standings, but I expect a great game as they meet on the second half of a back to back. The Pelicans are two games back from a playoff spot and will look to make up some ground with a win in this one. If New Orleans can have a quicker start in this one, it could be enough for a win.
The Pelicans and the Trail Blazers have met up twice already this season. New Orleans hosted the first game of the season series on February 17. Zion Williamson scored 36 points, while Lonzo Ball finished with 21 points. Damian Lillard dropped 43 points and 16 assists. Gary Trent added 23 points on the night to help lead Portland to a 126-124.
The Trail Blazers hosted the second game of the season series on March 16. Brandon Ingram finished with 30 points, while Zion Williamson put up 28 points. It was still not enough for the Pelicans. Damian Lillard dropped 50 points and 10 assists. Gary Trent added 22 points off the bench to help lead Portland to a 125-124 win at home.
Portland has been able to win the first two games of the season series against the Pelicans so far this season. New Orleans was able to win all four games against the Trail Blazers last season though. The Pelicans will look to get back in the win column against Portland in this one. The Trail Blazers have been the better team throughout this season, but New Orleans needs a win in this one.
Field Goal Shooting
New Orleans has been solid shooting the ball throughout this season series. The Pelicans have been able to make 48.7 percent of their shots from the field, which is 4th in the NBA. New Orleans has shot 35.8 percent of their shots from deep, which is 19th in the league. The Pelicans have drained 73.2 percent of their shots from the charity stripe, which is 28th in the NBA.
The Trail Blazers have struggled a bit shooting from the field this season. Portland has made 44.8 percent of their shots from the field, which is 26th in the league. The Trail Blazers have been able to shoot 38.3 percent from behind the arc, which is 8th in the NBA. Portland has sunk 83.4 percent of their shots from the free throw line, which is 2nd in the league.
The Pelicans have been the better team shooting from the field, but Portland has been better from deep and the free throw line. New Orleans will look to spread the ball more in this one, while the Trail Blazers will look to quicken the pace. Neither team has been great on defense, but they will look for their defense to step up in this one for the win.
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have helped lead the Pelicans throughout this season. Williamson is averaging 25.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. Ingram has averaged 24 points per game. Lonzo Ball is averaging 14 points and 5.5 assists per game. Eric Bledsoe has averaged 12 points per game to help round out the lineup.
Damian Lillard has been the leader for Portland to this point in the season. Lillard has averaged 30.5 points and 8 assists per game. C.J. McCollum is averaging 25.5 points per game. Gary Trent has averaged 15.5 points, while Carmelo Anthony is averaging 14 points per game. Enes Kanter has averaged 12 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season.
These two teams have led by their top two players throughout this season. The Trail Blazers have been the better team depth wise this season. New Orleans will look for some players to step up in this one as they look to break through. These two teams are looking pretty healthy and will look for that to help lead them towards the end of the season.
The Pelicans have struggled against Portland throughout this season series, but I think that New Orleans can bounce back in this one. The Trail Blazers have won by two or less in both games this season and if the Pelicans can bump up the pressure a bit, it could tilt the game in their favor. I think that New Orleans will have some players step up as they try to win the second half of this back to back.
BetOnline has Portland listed as a -120 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Trail Blazers will win this game around 54.6 percent of the time. I think that this line is fair with Portland being at home. I think the Pelicans will come out with some extra energy on Thursday night as they look to finally knock off the Trail Blazers.