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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans have much to prove against Portland Trail Blazers

There’s no time like the present to get back on the horse!

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Losers of four in their last six games, the New Orleans Pelicans have much to prove entering Friday night’s matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Fresh off a loss to the bottom-feeding Memphis Grizzlies, and with unrelenting losses to the Timberwolves, Knicks and Mavericks in recent memory, New Orleans’ following is getting louder in its longing for change. Where that change should come is a different conversation, but the Pelicans must show the focus and effort necessary to compete in the Western Conference.

New Orleans has faced Portland twice this season, splitting the season series thus far. However, in those pair of games the Trailblazers have only seen five minutes of Anthony Davis. Though Davis is listed as questionable due to a right ankle injury suffered against the Pistons on Jan. 8, Head Coach Alvin Gentry said on Wednesday that he is confident that Davis will be a go.

Regardless, Davis’ partner in the frontcourt, DeMarcus Cousins, has had a good bit of success against the Blazers roaming alone this season. Small sample size or not, Cousins has averaged 38.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game so expect him to lick his chops once more when he sees Meyers Leonard step onto the court.

By the Numbers

Portland has an offensive rating at 103.5, located among the 10 lowest in the NBA, along with the worst overall assist to turnover ratio. However, Portland does have a top-five defensive rating at 103.2, outmatched only by the Raptors, Warriors, Spurs and Celtics.

With a favorable stretch approaching to close out January, games against the Knicks, Hawks, Grizzlies, Bulls, Hornets and Kings to name a few, a competitive outing against a contender in the Portland Trail Blazers could go a long way. New Orleans will look to reset once again.

Geaux Pels!

What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Portland Trail Blazers

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: January 12, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Central

How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM