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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 14th (All times Eastern)

Portland Trail Blazers (42-23) at New Orleans Pelicans (26-38), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try to salvage a game on this road trip, but they'll have to do so without their best player when they visit the Smoothie King Center Friday night to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

Portland has dropped all four on this current sojourn through the south and word came down Thursday All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge will be sidelined at least two games with a lower back contusion.

Aldridge left Wednesday's loss to the Spurs in the third quarter after colliding with San Antonio center Aron Baynes. He was helped to the locker room and did not return.

He recently sat out five games with a left groin strain. Veteran forward Dorell Wright started in Aldridge�s place in a small lineup, with the Trail Blazers responding by going 4-1 in those contests.

But the Blazers have gone 0-4 on this recent jaunt, losing to Dallas, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio. That's a brutal slate with all four playoff-bound, but Portland allowed 100-plus points in all four.

The Trail Blazers have slipped to fifth in the Western Conference standings, two games behind the Rockets and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors, who stand in sixth.

"We're going to fight," guard Wesley Matthews told the team's website after Wednesday's 103-90 setback to the Spurs. "Unfortunately we played a few games without (Aldridge), so we're accustomed to that kind of style of play. We're going to fight every game, we're going to compete. Now it's just time for us to make our own luck."

The Pelicans had a three-game winning streak halted Wednesday night in a 90-88 home loss to the Grizzlies.

Memphis' Mike Conley hit the game-winning jumper with 1.5 seconds left on the clock to get the victory. The Grizzlies finished the game on a 9-0 run to steal the win.

"They made the play they needed to down the stretch," Pelicans head coach Monty Williams said. "Guys battled and fought their tails off."

Anthony Davis had 29 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and Austin Rivers supplied 14 points and nine assists off the bench for New Orleans. Brian Roberts added 12 points and Anthony Morrow chipped in 10.

The Pelicans still have the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors on a homestand which has seen the team go 2-1 thus far.

The Blazers, who will play three straight at home after Friday night, and Pelicans have split two meetings this season with the home team successfully defending each time.

Portland has lost three in a row in the Big Easy.

03/14 10:20:43 ET