Photo / Bruce Ely
Blazers Battle, But Can't Overcome The Brow And Boogie In New Orleans
The Portland Trail Blazers (22-20) dropped a second straight game on their four-game road trip, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans (21-20), 119-113, Friday night at the Smoothie King Center in the Crescent City. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the Blazers in the defeat with 23 points each, while the Pelicans frontcourt of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 60 points and 28 rebounds for New Orleans.
Playing inspired against two of the NBA’s premier big men from the tip, Jusuf Nurkić scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field. Nurkić’s efforts, however, were bested by Jrue Holiday’s 12 points to put the Pelicans up 31-25 after one. Despite a 31-10 led by Holiday and Davis through the midway points of the first and second quarters that Portland trail by 16, the Blazers traded momentum with a 30-14 run of their own to end the first half and go into the break tied at 61 behind Lillard’s 13 second-quarter points.
The second half brought a more even-keeled affair, but it was the Pelicans’ shooting on their home court that decided the game. The Blazers had no answer on the defensive end for the Pelicans big man duo of Davis and Cousins, as the two combined for 32 second-half points A 6-2 New Orleans run from the 4:43 mark to the 2:04 mark in the fourth quarter gave the home side a six-point advantage that the Blazers could not overcome in the end.
Lillard and McCollum led the Blazers with 23 points each, while Lillard also handed out eight assists. All five Blazer starters scored at least 17 points in the loss as Nurkić and Al-Farouq Aminu each tallied 19 points. Aminu eared a double-double on the evening, also grabbing 11 rebounds. Starting for Evan Turner (illness), Shabazz Napier scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 36 points on 16-of-23 shooting, grabbing nine rebounds in the process. Jrue Holiday scored 25 points for the Pelicans, converting 8-of-11 attempts from the field. DeMarcus Cousins was a handful all night, recording 24 points to go with 19 rebounds and eight assists.
- Damian Lillard passed Geoff Petrie for 7th on the Trail Blazers’ all-time scoring list (9,734) with his fourth point of the evening, coming in the second quarter.
- Portland tied a season-high with 13 steals.
- Saturday was the first time guards Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Shabazz Napier started alongside one another as Evan Turner was sidelined with an undisclosed illness.
The Trail Blazers travel to Minneapolis to meet the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night at 6 p.m. at the Target Center.