New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trailblazers

New Orleans Pelicans Preview

The New Orleans Pelicans aim to complete a four-game season sweep of the Trail Blazers when they visit Portland on Friday night. New Orleans rookie forward Zion Williamson is hoping to lead a playoff push in a season that began with him missing three months due to knee surgery.  

Williamson is now thriving after back-to-back 30-point efforts — including 31 in a 138-117 home romp over the Trail Blazers on Feb. 11 — and is averaging 22.1 points and 7.5 rebounds over his first 10 NBA games. All-Star forward Brandon Ingram (ankle) will return after a three-game absence, and he contributes a team-best 24.9 points as well as 6.4 rebounds per outing. 

Portland Trail Blazers Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers will be without star point guard Damian Lillard due to a groin injury when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Lillard told reporters on Thursday afternoon that he will miss three to four games before returning. He sustained the injury in Portland’s final game before the All-Star break on Feb. 12, leading him to pull out of the All-Star Game.  

Lillard has carried the Trail Blazers and ranks fourth in the NBA with a 29.5 scoring average and also averages 7.9 assists. He has scored at least 20 points in 21 consecutive appearances. Shooting guard CJ McCollum has scored 20 or more points in three of the past four games.