The New Orleans Pelicans suffered another tough setback as they fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 99-90 at The Moda Center on Saturday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard led the way as the Blazers improved to 50-26 on the season. Aldridge finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and a pair of steals while Lillard had 19 points and four assists,.
Portland also got huge performances off its bench to outlast the Pelicans. Chris Kaman managed 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor with 11 rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes while C.J. McCollum recorded 10 points and two assists.
Robin Lopez added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds while Steve Blake chipped in with eight points, three rebounds and three assists.
Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans paced the Pelicans in the loss. Gordon finished with 22 points on a 4-for-6 shooting night from distance while Evans totaled 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting from the field to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds.
Anthony Davis added 19 points, nine boards, four blocks, three steals and two helpers while Norris Cole had 10 points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Jimmer Fredette did not play for the second game in a row and the 28th time in 76 games. What made that move somewhat curious is the fact that the New Orleans bench had a brutal showing. While the group had a solid shooting night (10-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-5 from distance), they didn’t get much else done. The plus/minus was especially bad for the second unit with Cole registering a -22 in 25 minutes of action. Dante Cunningham and Ryan Anderson also reached double digits on the negative side. Cunningham was a -16 in just nine minutes while Anderson was a -11 in 18 minutes.
Not exactly the kind of performance a team needs from its second unit when it’s in the middle of a heated race for a playoff spot.
Up next for Fredette and the Pelicans is a visit from the Western Conference leading Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. The Warriors enter the contest with a 63-14 record after a 107-92 loss at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lead the offensive attack for Warriors as they head into the playoffs. Curry is at the forefront of the league MVP conversation thanks to a tremendous showing so far this season. He is averaging 23.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 43.5 percent from distance to go along with 7.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and two steals.
Thompson is also having a very solid season with a career-high 21.5 points a night as well as 3.2 rebounds, three assists and 1.1 steals.