Pelicans-Trail Blazers Preview
Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard came into the league together after being drafted three years ago, and Lillard's Portland Trail Blazers have usually gotten the better of Davis' New Orleans Pelicans.
The Trail Blazers have taken six straight in this series and will try to drop the Pelicans to 1-12 on the road Monday night.
The best players from the 2012 draft appear to be Davis, taken first overall by New Orleans, and Lillard, selected sixth by Portland. The Trail Blazers (10-15) have won eight of 11 meetings since those players joined the NBA, with Lillard averaging 21.3 points and Davis 21.4.
New Orleans (6-17) has lost in its last nine visits to Portland, where Davis is 0-6. The Pelicans have dropped four straight on the road.
Davis shot 8 of 24 and scored 22 points with 13 boards in Saturday's 98-94 loss at Chicago, which dared him to shoot from mid-range on occasion.
The big man is at 25 percent on shots from between 10-15 feet compared to 48.8 between 15-20.
"He's capable of making those shots," coach Alvin Gentry said. "They're good shots for him. They didn't go in tonight. If they go in, everyone's talking about what a great shooter he is. You live and die sometimes what guys are good at. He's good at that. Those are the shots we want him taking."
Davis could get untracked Monday if Portland continues to play shaky defense. The Blazers allowed New York to shoot 52.0 percent in Saturday's 112-110 home defeat, their second opponent in three games to make at least 50.0 percent after two opponents had done so all season.
"We didn't get a lot of stops," guard C.J. McCollum said. "I think our lack of offense led to some easy baskets in transition."
Lillard scored 29 points and McCollum added 22 for Portland, which led by 10 entering the fourth quarter. The Blazers have lost three of four, with the defeats coming by a total of nine points.
"We're losing games, close games," McCollum said. "A lot of times we're either leading or we're down and then we come back and then we lose so I think it's just defensively we can control that."
The Pelicans were lamenting blowing a 14-point lead Saturday and a six-point edge entering the fourth.
A defensive effort in which they limited the Bulls to 42.3 percent shooting was a positive sign. New Orleans is allowing an NBA-worst average of 108.4 points along with 46.3 percent shooting.
''My overall take on it is that if we compete at that level, we'll be fine if we shore up the breakdowns that we had,'' Gentry said.
Tyreke Evans scored 22 points and had 49 in two games over the weekend. He has played in six games since missing the start of the season due to arthroscopic knee surgery.
Portland took advantage of his absence in a 112-94 rout Oct. 28 in which McCollum scored a season-high 37 points and Lillard added 21 and 11 assists. Davis had 25 points and 10 boards.