New Orleans Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction and preview

ROY candidates face off in PDX

The Portland Trail Blazers face off against the New Orleans Hornets to conclude the weekend, and it’s safe to say that the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year will be in the Rose Garden Sunday night.

Matchup: Portland (10-12) vs. New Orleans (5-17)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 6:00 PM PT
Date: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012

With Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis both in the building, fans will see a battle between two teams with two Rookie of the Year candidates.

Anthony Davis will compete with Damian Lillard for Rookie of the Year this season. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Anthony Davis will compete with Damian Lillard for Rookie of the Year this season. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Game Notes/How They Match Up

The headlines coming into this matchup are sure to feature Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. The two players have been the two best rookies in the 2012-13 season, and they are likely to compete for the Rookie of the Year award through all 82 games.

That being said, there are eight other players who will be on the court to begin this game, and both teams need to plan for players other than the star prospects.

The Blazers and the hornets both allow more than 41 points per game in the paint, but that shouldn’t be a big issue in this one, as neither team threatens their opponents much on the low block.

These two teams also struggle defensively in transition, but again, neither team is going to get out and run from start to finish.

What to Watch: Portland

The Blazers have been getting a slightly better showing from their second unit in recent games, which is a trend that must continue for them to have success.

Luke Babbitt has been one player who has stepped up as of late. He is coming off a season-high 12-point performance against the San Antonio Surs, in which he shot 50 percent from the field.

Meyers Leonard is also coming off a good performance. Even though he only scored two points on 1-of-3 shooting, he pulled down an impressive eight rebounds in just 17 minutes.

You don’t need to score a ton of points to beat the Hornets, as they only score 91.8 points per contest, but bench production is going to be necessary if anybody from the starting lineup has an off game.

What to Watch: New Orleans

New Orleans has been the third-worst offensive team in the league this season, while the Blazers have struggled to stop their opponents from scoring. If New Orleans can take advantage of a bad defensive performance, Portland is going to be in trouble.

The Hornets’ No. 1 scoring option is Ryan Anderson. He is averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game, and he is a power forward who can truly spread the floor out to the three-point line.

Behind Anderson is Anthony Davis. The big man is averaging 14.6 points, but he has the potential to become much more of a force on the low block than Anderson.

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge will make up one-half of the key matchup in this one. (Photo Credit: AP)

Outside of the top 2, the Blazers are going to want to contain point guard Greivis Vasquez. He is averaging 8.6 assists at this point in the season, but he has the ability to put up points and make teams pay if they leave him alone from behind the arc.

Key Matchup

The battle at the power forward position is the one that’s going to garner the most attention in Sunday night’s contest. LaMarcus Aldridge will be matching up against either Ryan Anderson, the Hornets’ leading scorer, or Anthony Davis, the team’s most promising star.

If LaMarcus Aldridge is matched up against Anderson, expect a lot of scoring. Neither player is great on defense, and both like to spread the floor with their jump shots.

However, if he spends most of the game against Davis, it’s going to be a battle of offense versus defense.

Davis is a monster on the block defensively, but he is also extremely good at challenging perimeter shots. Something will have to give in this matchup, and if you’re Portland, you hope that Aldridge can take advantage of the inexperienced defender.

Injury Report

Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Nicolas Batum, Will Barton, Wesley Matthews

New Orleans: OUT—Jason Smith


The Trail Blazers are looking to match their longest winning streak of the season, and if they can take care of the Hornets at home, they’ll put themselves within one game of a .500 record.

Blazers 104 – Hornets 88


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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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