The Trail Blazers are going to have heavy legs after last night's crazy game in San Antonio, but we still think they're worth a look with your NBA picks in New Orleans tonight.
Despite notching an impressive win last night, the Trail Blazers find themselves priced out as five-point underdogs in NBA odds against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
The total is currently at 201.5 points, as it looks like oddsmakers are expecting New Orleans to try and push the pace, in turn trying to make life difficult on this tired Portland squad. We'll have to see if the Trail Blazers are able to have enough energy to stay competitive.
New Orleans Pelicans
Don't look now, but the Pelicans are really starting to find their groove. They've gone 5-2 over their past seven games, with wins over the Lakers, Knicks, Cavaliers, Jazz and Rockets and losses to the Mavericks and Warriors. At 13-12 overall and getting better and better, New Orleans shouldn't be discounted when it comes to the playoff race.
We get how competitive the Western Conference is, but when you've got a player like Anthony Davis leading the way, anything is possible. He's been as dominant as any player in the league when healthy, and he should have a big say in tonight's game against Portland.
New Orleans has been off since Thursday's 99-90 road win over a Houston team, that like Portland tonight, was playing its second game in as many nights. Davis went off for 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, five blocks and two steals - he was an absolute handful for the Rockets throughout and more than made up for the absence of Tyreke Evans.
Evans is likely to be a game-time decision for tonight's game, and that's going to be a situation worth monitoring. New Orleans could really use his playmaking ability against the Trail Blazers here.
Portland Trail Blazers
What a game last night! You missed out on some great entertainment if you didn't see Portland hold on to beat San Antonio in triple overtime.
It was the Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge show throughout. Lillard had 43 points, six assists and three rebounds, and Aldridge came through with 32 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and two blocks in another outstanding all-around effort. With Nicolas Batum out and Robin Lopez injured too, that two had to step up and take on even more responsbility. As you can see, they more than provided the goods.
It's been another amazing start for Portland. They're at 21-6 overall and are in first place in the division. Looking at the statistics, the Trail Blazers are ranked seventh in points scored per game and third in points allowed -- that kind of balance is going to take them a long way, especially when you throw in the fact Portland is first in the NBA in rebounding. On average, Portland is hauling down 47 rebounds per contest.
It remains to be seen if Batum will be forced to sit out again tonight, so we'll have to keep monitoring the news throughout the day. Nevertheless, as yesterday proved, Lillard and Aldridge can pretty much carry the team on their backs no matter how many chips are stacked against them.
Yes, they're banged up, and yes they'll be playing a day after going into triple overtime against the Spurs last night.
But, there's something pretty special about this Portland team. They seem unflappable and unafraid of the moment, with Lillard and Aldridge embodying that fearless attitude better than anyone. Those two have been unstoppable recently, and we don't think they're just going to lay down and die here. They can handle this much workload.
It's rare we get to back Portland at this kind of number, and we're going to jump on the opportunity. It's not going to be a popular NBA pick among the masses, but we look for the Trail Blazers to cover here as sizable road underdogs.
Free NBA Pick: Portland Trail Blazers +5 at The Greek