Larry Ness’ Free Pick | Pelicans vs Blazers March 16, 2021
Larry Ness Pelicans vs Blazers Free Pick
Start Time: March 16 2021, 10:05 PM
The New Orleans Pelicans routed the visiting Los Angeles Clippers 135-115 on Sunday night, a result that followed Friday’s 116-82 home rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Zion scored 27 points vs LA, the 17th straight game in which he’s had 20-plus points. Williamson’s NBA career may be just 61 games old but he’s owned the superstar label since his one season at Duke. FIVE other Pelicans scored 20-plus points in the win over the Clippers and it begs the question, how can this team be just 17-22?
Williamson is averaging 25.5 & 7.0 and is joined by the trio of former Lakers who came in the A.D. trade. SF Ingram (23.7-5.1-4.7) is a terrific player, Lonzo Ball (14.3-4.2-5.2) is HIGHLY underrated and few even know Hart’s name, no less his averages of 9.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG. Bledsoe (11.8-3.4-3.9) was acquired from Milwaukee just prior to the start of the season plus THREE more Pelicans combine to average about 25 PPG. However, with all this talent, New Orleans opened 5-10 through Jan 23 and now almost two full months later, remains five games under .500. New Orleans is currently 1 1/2-games back of the No. 10 seed in the West, the last of four seeds (7-10) that will comprise the West’s “Play-In” round.
The Blazers have been streaky, opening the season just 10-9 through Feb 1. However, Portland then won EIGHT of nine, before losing FOUR in a row to close February. Portland is 4-2 in March and enters this game 22-16 (5 1/2-games better than the Pelicans), giving them the West’s No. 6 seed Portland has hung tough despite CJ McCollum (26.7-3.9-5.0) being out since Jan 16 (fractured left foot), while center Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) has played just 12 games (9.8 & 7.7) and PF Zach Collins (ankle) has yet to play a single game. Portland’s Lillard (29.9-4.4-7.9) is a true superstar plus Trent (15.4) has really stepped up in McCollum’s absence (there is talk CJ could be back soon). The ageless Anthony adds 13.9 PPG off the bench. plus PF Covington (8.4 & 5.8) and SF Jones (7.9 & 4.6) and were acquired in the offseason (both are excellent defenders) and while not spectacular, have been solid contributors.
With the Pelicans coming off their rout of the Clippers, I’ll take the Blazers here. I would have made it a bigger play but the Blazers won in New Orleans 126-124 back on Feb 17, so I’ll go a little ‘lighter.’
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