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Game On: Pelicans @ Trailblazers
At this point in the season, I’m just hoping the Marquee matchup of this game actually shows up to play. Nothing is more fun than Aldridge vs Davis as two lanky, premier power forwards battle each other. If Davis’ back and ankle are bothering him too much, this game immediately becomes about 87 times less interesting. And that may be underselling it.
The Trailblazers have recovered some from struggling through the middle months of the season and won four of their last five. They hope to continue that streak by beating up on a series of weak opponents in the hopes that they can enter the playoffs strong. The Pelicans, on the flip side, seem to have run out of steam on the season and aren’t playing that hard anymore – as seen by that terrible Utah game. Morrow and Rivers are up for it. Not sure about everyone else.
Still, if Davis plays, this could be fun.
Keys to the game
- If the Pelicans foul a lot tonight, they are hopeless. The Blazers are a team that shoots and shoots and shoots and rarely drives or gets free throws. In fact, they have one of the lowest free-throw rates in the league and over their last five the number has gotten smaller. If the Pelicans foul this team, they must be going out of their way to do it. No easy points against a team that can get hot from three. That’s the key.
- Clean the Defensive Glass. The Pelicans have struggled mightily in doing this the last month – but the Blazers don’t really rely on turnovers or free throws to keep themselves in games when things are going badly. Instead, they fight for offensive boards and get them at a high rate. This must stop.
- Let LaMarcus get the ball in his hands. He’s not efficient. He likes jumpers. If you double, he passes and your team will be killed by Portland’s shooters. Don’t double because he finishes shots at 38% in the post this season. Make him beat you.
Enjoy the game!