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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 12/23/15

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Preview: Portland At New Orleans

When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Portland standout guard Damian Lillard missed the first game of his career earlier this week and hopes not to make it two straight absences when the Trail Blazers visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Lillard’s streak of playing in 275 consecutive regular-season contests ended Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Lillard took a lot of pride in his streak but felt he needed to make sure the foot injury doesn’t turn into a persistent malady. “It’s more about not trying to be extra tough, worried about the streak or anything like that,” Lillard told reporters. “It’s something I can take care of now and try to just handle it now as opposed to it lingering on for the rest of the season.” Shooting guard C.J. McCollum (both ankles) also sat out with Lillard as Portland lost 106-97 to the Atlanta Hawks for its fourth consecutive defeat. New Orleans posted a season best for points in Sunday’s 130-125 win over the Denver Nuggets but has dropped seven straight games against the Trail Blazers.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, KGW (Portland), FSN New Orleans

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (11-19): With Portland’s backcourt is disarray, reserve guard Tim Frazier made his fourth career start and played all but 25 seconds of Monday’s game. Frazier had 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and coach Terry Stotts said afterward he regretted not playing the 25-year-old for all 48 minutes. “I was actually kind of disappointed I took him out that one possession,” Stotts told reporters. “I would have liked to have had him (go) 48. But he had three fouls.”

ABOUT THE PELICANS (8-19): Power forward Anthony Davis is expected back at full strength after struggling with an illness while scoring 27 points in just 20 minutes against Denver. Davis departed after the first quarter to receive two IVs and then returned in the fourth quarter and gave quite a stirring performance. “Anthony was great and I didn’t think he would even play because he is really sick,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said afterward. “The boost that he gave us in the first quarter was really great and then he came on strong in the fourth with four blocks for us as well.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. McCollum is averaging 26.5 points – including a career-high 37 points – in two victories over the Pelicans this season.

2. New Orleans G Tyreke Evans had 21 points and matched a season best of 10 assists against the Nuggets and has scored in double digits in nine of his 10 games this season.

3. Portland PF Meyers Leonard is 14-of-45 shooting over the past seven games.

PREDICTION: Pelicans 114, Trail Blazers 101