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New Orleans Pelicans dig too large a hole against Portland Trail Blazers, lose 119-104

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The away losing streak reaches 11 games despite some more splendidness from Anthony Davis.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans fell to the Trail Blazers, 119-104, marking it the 11th straight loss for New Orleans inside Portland’s city limits. Anthony Davis led the way with 31 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 threes, but his production was offset by Damian Lillard (27 points, 11 assists, 3 threes) and C.J. McCollum (24 points, 4 threes). In addition, poor free throw shooting (19-29) by the Pelicans and too many second chance opportunities — a 23-2 points edge for the Blazers — proved too much to overcome.

New Orleans mounted a late rally behind some deft perimeter shooting and narrowed a 2nd half deficit of 17 points to just 4 in the fourth quarter, but they failed to climb over the hump. In particular, a waved off three-pointer by Jrue Holiday stung the most as Davis was whistled for an offensive foul. Had it counted, the Pelicans would have been down just three points with 5 minutes remaining and a world of momentum.

The referee calls were somewhat troublesome tonight, and if you tuned into Fox Sports New Orleans, Joel Meyers alluded to it numerous times. Portland bigs camped in the lane throughout, and the Blazers avoided getting called for several key hacks.

Regardless, it was good to see the Pelicans didn’t bury their heads in the sand when the home disadvantage reared it’s ugly head, so there’s that.

Game Notes:

  • Maybe tonight’s loss will mark the official end of the Jrue Holiday reserve experiment? Alvin Gentry had recently made reference to the fact that he didn’t want to rock the boat considering the 4-game winning streak, but in his postgame comments tonight the head coach made issue of the Pelicans start to the game and the 3rd quarter. Either way, enough’s enough. All-Star potential players need to be in the starting lineup on this squad.
  • E’Twaun Moore had it rolling from the outside (3-3 from three-point range) and finished with 15 points; however, four personal fouls limited him to 23 minutes. On the other hand, Langston Galloway was practically invisible, launching just two shots in 18 minutes.
  • Tim Frazier played 32 minutes, the second highest amount, but he failed to make the most of it. He couldn’t find the bottom of the hoop regularly and the Trail Blazers dynamic backcourt torched him all too often. I love Frazier, but he displayed why he’s better suited flipping roles with Holiday yesterday. Gentry can still play both point guards together down the road, but I’d advise he be more selective with the pairing.
  • Did the Pelicans miss Dante Cunningham? Terrence Jones had his moments again (10 points, 2 threes, 3 rebounds), but he wasn’t a notable difference maker next to Davis. Omer Asik had similar results as the Blazers quickness seemed to be a little too much for him. So yeah, I think New Orleans did miss the oft-maligned forward. With Cunningham expected to miss a number of weeks, a strong argument could be made that the Pelicans should recall Cheick Diallo from the D-League. He’s been playing well for the Austin Toros and Alexis Ajinca isn’t going to plug that leak. Diallo won’t be able to spread the floor like DC, but he could provide a lot of the similar x-factor stuff outside the box score. Speaking of which, it was kind of surprising to see Solomon Hill receive just 27 minutes — especially since he wasn’t a drain on the offense nor a poor rebounder.
  • Buddy Hield got off to a strong start in the first half, but then Gentry elected to give his minutes to Anthony Brown after halftime. This isn’t a trend that I’d like to see continue.

Up next, the Pelicans will travel to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 6:00 pm CST.