Blazers, Pels meet again on different trajectories

NBA
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The last time the New Orleans Pelicans and the Trail Blazers faced each other Carmelo Anthony was making his debut with Portland.

The host Pelicans prevailed 115-104 on Nov. 19, but the teams have gone in opposite directions since. And now they meet again Monday, this time in Portland.

New Orleans did record the win over the Blazers, but has lost 15 of 17 games since. The Blazers dropped the two games after the Pelicans loss, but are 9-4 since and have won four straight following a 113-106 home victory against Minnesota on Saturday.

Anthony, who has averaged 16.0 points and 6.2 rebounds and shot 41.7 percent on 3-pointers, didn’t play against the Timberwolves because of a sore knee. He might return against New Orleans.

“Everything is good,” Anthony told reporters recently. “It was just a knee-to-knee contusion.”

Portland, which started the season 5-12, can be patient with Anthony if Hassan Whiteside continues his recent level of play.

Whiteside, who had a season-high 23 rebounds in a 122-112 win over Golden State on Wednesday, had 22 rebounds, 16 points and seven blocks against Minnesota. He is the first player in Blazers history to have at least 22 rebounds, 16 points and seven blocks in a game.

“When he’s playing like that, we’re going to have a great chance to win the games,” guard Damian Lillard said. “On both ends of the floor — making free throws, making jumpers, being in the paint, getting us extra possessions. He has been huge for us.”

Whiteside had his 14th straight double-double and he has 46 blocks in the last 11 games, giving him a league-leading 73 for the season.

“That was a challenge from my coach — lead the league in blocks,” Whiteside said.

“I feel like I’m the best rim protector in the league.”

The Pelicans followed a common theme in a 106-102 loss at Golden State on Friday night: falling behind by 20 points, rallying to take a lead, then getting outscored down the stretch.

“I think our start really affected us,” guard Lonzo Ball said. “Being down by 20 again and then having to use a lot of our energy to get back into it, we ran out of gas at the end. We turned it around but we didn’t finish the game.”

New Orleans rebounded to take a late 98-93 lead before Golden State scored seven straight points. The Pelicans tied the game when Brandon Ingram made two free throws, but D’Angelo Russell hit a tie-breaking jumper with 32.9 seconds left as the only team in the Western Conference with a worse record than the Pelicans beat them for the second time in three meetings this season.

“We didn’t establish anything until the second quarter so already we are behind the eight ball,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We turn the ball over nine times in the first quarter, things like that we can’t do especially if you are trying to win a basketball game on the road, regardless of the team you are playing.

“You’ve got to be tough and you can’t turn the ball over and you’ve got to be able to knock down shots. At the end of the day you can’t come on the road and shoot 42 percent (from the field), 25 (percent) from three and expect to win. We have to come up with stops and make shots. It’s a simple remedy. We don’t get the ball into the basket and they do and that’s how they can erase a six-point lead and we can’t hold a six-point lead.”

–Field Level Media

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