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Aussie Thybulle's Trail Blazers slump to fourth straight defeat in scrappy loss to Pelicans

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Roar Guru
11th February, 2024
2

From Moda Center, Portland

Australia’s Matisse Thybulle and his Portland Trail Blazers have continued their cold streak, going down against the New Orleans Pelicans on their home court.

Despite closing to just a point at the end of the third quarter, poor shooting at the offensive end cost the Trail Blazers in the end, as the Pelicans surged in the final quarter for a 93-84 win.

Three Australians were originally expected to take part in the game, but Dyson Daniels (New Orleans) and Duop Reath (Portland) were late withdrawals, joining Pelicans star Zion Williamson.

It was the second straight day of play for New Orleans, after going down to the Lakers the previous evening, while the Trail Blazers were looking to break a three-game losing streak that has spanned the whole month of February.

After the visitors got the opening points, Thybulle levelled the scores with a driving lay-up before making two free throws, giving him four points in the opening minutes.

The Pelicans worked their way to a seven-point lead in the opening quarter, before back-to-back baskets from Deandre Ayton – one coming off a Thybulle steal – threatened to cut the margin, which remained at five after the first quarter.

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The Aussie playing just under 10 minutes in his first stint on the court.

Shooting was an issue for both teams early in the second quarter, as both percentages dropped below 50 per cent from the field.

Ayton was the first to hit double-figure before getting a rest on the bench, as Portland briefly found the lead after five minutes of the term.

Trail Blazers fans found their voice, as Ibou Badji produced a rim-rattling dunk, and the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram missed two from the free-throw line.

Thybulle re-entered the game, and while he was not adding to his stats, he was playing with plenty of intensity, and his aggression was forcing sloppy passes from New Orleans.

The visitors managed to take a 47-40 lead into the break with Trey Murphy III top-scoring with a game-high 14, while Ayton nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

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The deficit for Portland blew out to 12 early in the third, before Thybulle had it back to single digits with a three-pointer, taking his points to seven for the game.

But the Blazers began to struggle at the offensive end during the third, dropping below 40 per cent from the field – as Murphy III passed the 20-point mark.

Thybulle, meanwhile, was doing his best to win possession for his side, coming up with his second steal of the game leading to an Ayton basket, then a run from the home side cut the lead to just five at the midway point of the quarter.

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A 13-5 run from Portland to close out the quarter, had them within one at the final break.

Thybulle came back onto the floor and played the final seven minutes of the game, but the Pelicans lead again blew back out to ten points. From there Portland made no real inroads in the nine-point loss.

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The Aussie played 29 minutes, finishing with seven points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals.

The game leaders were Jerami Grant (Portland) and Murphy III (New Orleans) with 24 points each, while at the defensive end Ayton had 17 rebounds while the Pelicans Jonas Valanciunas had nine.

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