Portland Trail Blazers look for a fresh start

by Kevin Nesgoda

Carmelo Anthony will make his much-anticipated debut for the Portland Trail Blazers tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The future Hall-of-Famer was signed by the Blazers to a non-guaranteed deal over the weekend.

Portland (5-9, 12th West) visits the Pelicans (4-9, 14th West) after coming off a brutal 24-point loss in Houston. Tip-off from the Smoothie King Center is at 5:00 p.m. on NBA TV/NBC Sports NW.

The Blazers will be without Damian Lillard, who is dealing with back spasms from carrying the team. Lillard’s 536 minutes played (38.3 per game) leads the league so far. Interestingly enough, Portland’s C.J. McCollum is second on the list with 526 (37.6/game).

Without Lillard, Anthony will be expected to have an immediate scoring role, but the Blazers really need help on the glass. They were out-rebounded 58-44 last night by the Rockets. He will start tonight, per Marc J. Spears at ESPN.


The Pelicans present a great opportunity for Melo to shine, as New Orleans is surrendering 120 points per game to their opponents, second only to the Washington Wizards. New Orleans is coming off a 108-100 victory against NBA bottom-feeders Golden State, and have plenty of injury woes themselves.

Expected Starting Lineups

Portland: Anfernee Simons, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside

Head Coach: Terry Stotts

New Orleans: Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick, Jaxson Hayes, E’Twaun Moore, Kenrich Williams

Head Coach: Alvin Gentry



New Orleans

Odds and Prediction

  • Spread: New Orleans -2.5
  • Total: 231.5
  • Prediction: Blazers cover. I think this will be a close one. It will be tough to close out a game without Dame, but C.J. and Carmelo aren’t exactly the worst players to have down the stretch.

Vibe Check

I’m starting a new segment in my previews where I recommend a song based on how I’m feeling about the game at hand. Tonight’s song is one that’s been in my head for about two days now: “What’s the Move (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) by Young Thug. In all honesty, we probably won’t learn much about the Blazers strategically from this match-up. More than anything, I want to see our guys having fun. And what’s more fun than Thugger?

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