Hornets at Trail Blazers
Two of the leading Rookie of the Year candidates will be on the same floor for the first time when the Portland Trail Blazers host the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. Portland guard Damian Lillard has been the NBA’s top first-year player over the first quarter of the season, while New Orleans forward Anthony Davis was the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft. The Hornets have lost six straight games as they begin a four-game road trip.
Portland is looking for its second three-game winning streak of the campaign. The Trail Blazers are 2-1 on a six-game homestand after downing the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. Portland has won five of its last six home games. New Orleans is aiming to avoid its second seven-game skid of the season. The Hornets are just 2-7 on the road and have the worst record in the Western Conference. New Orleans suffered a 113-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports New Orleans, Comcast SportsNet Northwest (Portland)
ABOUT THE HORNETS (5-17): Davis has been coming off the bench since returning from an ankle injury that caused him to miss 11 games. He averaged 11.7 points over those three games and his season averages stand at 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. Davis was only the second-best rookie on the squad in the loss to Minnesota as guard Austin Rivers scored a career-high 27 points. Rivers, the 10th overall pick, has reached double digits in four of the past five games. “The past three or four games, I’ve really finally started to get consistent and started to just actually breathe and go play,” Rivers said.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (10-12): Lillard scored a career-best 29 points in the win over the Spurs. It was the 13th 20-point outing for Lillard, who also had seven rebounds and six assists to become the first rookie in NBA history to produce four games of at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. “I think I’ve had a few better games even though this is the most points I’ve scored,” Lillard said of his performance against the Spurs in a nationally televised contest. “I think that was the best I’ve done in a game we really needed.” Lillard leads all rookies in scoring (18.9), assists (6.4) and 3-pointers (49).
1. Portland won all four of last season’s meetings and has a 20-10 home mark against New Orleans.
2. Hornets PG Greivis Vasquez has a career-best 17 assists against Minnesota for his sixth game of 10 or more assists this season.
3. Trail Blazers G Wesley Matthews (hip) is expected to miss his third consecutive contest.