Portland Trail Blazers fall to Pelicans in Melo’s debut

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Portland Trail Blazers (5-10, 13th West) were outmatched by the New Orleans Pelicans (5-9, 12th West) 115-104 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on the night of Tuesday, November 19th. It was the Trail Blazers debut for forward Carmelo Anthony, who had 10 points on 4-14 shooting (2-3 from three) in 24 minutes. He also had five turnovers.

Starting Lineups

Game Recap

1st Quarter: Portland 28, New Orleans 27

  • Notable plays: 
    • Whiteside tries to squeeze an awful pass to Melo, Redick bricks a 3
    • Melo hits his first bucket on his second attempt; CJ makes it back-to-back threes (10:30)
    • Jaxson Hayes strong putback dunk
    • Nassir Little answers with his own putback jam (5:05)
    • Jrue Holiday drives and dunks over Little for the and-one (2:50)
    • Ant drives off a Skal screen, kicks to Little for the corner 3
  • Trends:
    • New Orleans scoring fastbreak points off Blazers turnovers
    • Melo working the post-up game
    • Blazers had to resort to zone defense for a few possessions with Melo
    • Little making plays (7 pts on 3-3)

2nd Quarter: Portland 58, New Orleans 57

  • Notable Plays:
    • Anthony scores off a simple screen to start the quarter
    • Melo tries to jam on Hayes, misses
    • Melo picks up his third foul via a moving screen (5:50)
    • Hayes soars for a dunk (4:10)
    • CJ hits his second 3 to take the lead (2:45)
    • Hood scores on three straight possessions
  • Trends:
    • Little making some rookie mistakes (missed rotation, missed a 2v1 in transition, missed a pair of free throws)
    • Blazers only took 10 threes but made six of them

3rd Quarter: Portland 88, New Orleans 79

  • Notable Plays:
    • CJ gets us going with a three (9:24)
    • Melo picks up his fourth foul on a push-off in the lane (9:00)
    • CJ nasty crossover-stepback three (7:45)
    • Redick curls around a screen for a patented three (5:30)
    • CJ loses the ball in the backcourt, Melli gets a free dunk (3:30)
    • NOLA gives the ball right to Rodney, Blazers can’t finish the 3v1 fastbreak but Little nails a trailing three (1:30)
    • Hayes banks a desperate three at the buzzer (0:00)
  • Trends:
    • Blazers trying to feed Melo in the low post
    • Pelicans getting open looks and building a lead (13 at its height)
    • Blazers struggling to get defensive rebounds
    • Blazers committing a lot of fouls (7 to NOLA’s 2)
    • Portland’s 3-point shooting heated up toward the end of the quarter

4th Quarter: Portland 104, New Orleans 115

  • Notable Plays:
    • Three turnovers in four possessions to start the quarter
    • Ingram loses the ball, picks it up and scores in the low post
    • Holiday hits the most casual three of all-time to go up 14 (8:04)
    • Whiteside leaves E’Twaun Moore WIDE open under the basket (7:25)
    • Melo answers with a corner 3 to hit the over on his (9.5) point total (7:05)
    • Ingram gets an easy dunk on the next possession (7:00)
    • Carmelo picks up his fifth foul, comes out (6:21)
    • Starters pulled by Terry Stotts at the 2-minute mark
  • Trends: 
    • Pelicans pushing the pace to get running starts at the basket
    • Minimal defensive effort
    • Blazers struggling to run any plays without Dame
    • Kent Bazemore stepping up from behind the arc (3-5)

Overall, this was a disappointing showing, even without Dame. The Pelicans were missing a bunch of role players and the Blazers didn’t look motivated at all down the stretch. There were a few bright spots, though:

  • Nassir Little showed a lot of heart, getting a 12-point, 11-board double-double in 23 minutes of play. He shot 5-6 from the field. He was one of only two players with a positive +/- at +9.
  • Whiteside was 5-7 for 14 and 14, although his effort was lacking at times.
  • Anthony was exciting to watch, and the veteran looked hungry despite a rough shooting night.
  • Dame isn’t out for an extended period of time.

Portland will continue their road swing in Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon.

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