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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 21st (All times Eastern)

New Orleans Pelicans (11-13) at Portland Trail Blazers (22-5), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers have the most wins in the NBA, but will try to get back on track Saturday versus the New Orleans Pelicans in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Portland's 22 wins leads the league, but Indiana, Oklahoma City and San Antonio are right behind with 21 and play Saturday night in the Alamo City.

The Trail Blazers had won five straight and nine of 10 games before Wednesday's 120-109 loss at Minnesota in the finale of a four-game road trip (3-1). The Timberwolves had a 69-43 lead at halftime and fended off a furious Portland rally over the last two quarters.

Minnesota outscored the Trail Blazers, 72-34, in the paint.

"We didn't play very well in the first half," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "We gave up too much in the first half and dug too deep of a hole."

Damian Lillard had 36 points and LaMarcus Aldridge registered 15 points with 14 boards in the loss. It was Aldridge's 16th double-double of the season. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, for the Blazers, who made just 14-of-40 3-point attempts and shot 42.6 percent.

Lillard and the Blazers were coming off a last-second win at Cleveland thanks to the reigning Rookie of the Year's clutch shot. Lillard is averaging 31.6 points per game in his last three.

Portland's 22-5 record is the third-best after 27 games in franchise history.

The Blazers will also host the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat on the homestand and are 10-2 at home.

New Orleans is 0-3 on a five-game western jaunt and dropped a 108-95 decision to the Clippers on Wednesday.

Anthony Davis returned from a seven-game absence due to a broken left hand and tallied 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for New Orleans, which got 48 points from its bench and 17 points out of Ryan Anderson. Jrue Holiday ended with 13 and 10 assists, while Tyreke Evans had a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists after missing two games with an ankle injury.

"It was good to see AD had a double-double, and I think Tyreke had a triple- double," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "Unfortunately we don't have a win to celebrate that."

The Pelicans made 39.8 percent of their shots and sank 7-of-20 from 3-point territory.

"We made a number of poor decisions, we're getting open shots, it's disheartening seeing that ball go in and out," Williams said.

New Orleans will close the trek Monday in Sacramento and is 4-8 away from the Big Easy this season. The Pelicans won two of three meetings with Portland last season, but have still lost six of the previous nine matchups between the teams. New Orleans has lost four straight and 10 of 14 trips to the Rose City.

12/21 10:56:56 ET

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