Game On: Pelicans @ Trailblazers

Published: November 17, 2014

I’m hoping Aldridge shows up for this game since he’s listed Day to Day.  While that would make the game somewhat more difficult than otherwise, I currently have two Pelican plays I enjoy more than any other – A Ryan Anderson step back three – and Anthony Davis blocking shots that no other player in the league can get to.  Jumpers from Aldridge and Nowitzki qualify for this last one. (As do all the guards who think they can loft a shot over Davis on the perimeter when iso’d on him.)

So I’m hoping for an enjoyable Davis v Aldridge battle.

In reality, this whole game is full of fun matchups.  Lopez v His Replacement.  Lillard’s explosive offense vs Holiday’s quick-footed defense.  The aforementioned Davis v Aldridge.  Wes Matthew’s power guard play vs Tyreke Evans freight train offense.  Eric Gordon v . . .  okay that’s rarely a fun matchup.  At least there’s no Batum tonight, making Gordon vs McCullom, Steve Blake or Allen Crabbe a situation that he should be able to win.

Oh, and we’ll all get to boo Chris Kaman!  Yay!

Here are the Keys to the Game:

  • Portland is the third best rebounding team in the league – and in particular excel on the offensive glass.  The Pels bench won’t be able to match Kaman and Thomas Robinson’s work on the glass, so the starters are going to have to dominate Aldridge and Lopez to neutralize this Portland strength.  Thankfully, that is a possibility this year – where in years past, the Pels were just screwed.
  • Make penetration pay.  The Trailblazers have been great this year in staying home on three point shooters and letting their bigs and guards contain penetration and still force bad shots.  This defense has generated the 2nd best opponent eFG% in the league.  If the Pels get into the offense, they have to make Portland pay for not bringing help defense from the wings.  Looking at you Tyreke and Gordon.
  • Take advantage of turnovers.  The Trailblazers are giving up a bottom 10 number in turnovers.  The Pelicans have to force those and run them down their throat.  This can be a big deal because the Pels have been exceptional at limiting turnovers, and the Trailblazers don’t force many – so the Pelicans can have a big advantage in this category.

Enjoy the game!


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