PORTLAND -- If you looked at the box score after three quarters of Portland’s home opener versus the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night and saw that Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had combined to shoot just 4-of-20 from the field, even the most diehard Trail Blazers fan would probably assume Portland went on to lose the game, perhaps even by a wide margin. Then again, it was Opening Night, and the Trail Blazers don’t lose on Opening Night, at least not at any point in the last 17 years. Despite shooting less than 40 percent from the field and getting little from their starting backcourt in the first 36 minutes, the Trail Blazers beat the Pelicans 103-93 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,446 at the Moda Center. The Trail Blazers are now 3-1 overall and 1-0 at home this season. The victory also extends the Trail Blazers' winning streak in home openers to 17 games, an NBA record.
Even both Lillard and McCollum struggling from the field and Jusuf Nurkić saddled with foul trouble, the Trail Blazers were able to use a 16-1 run, powered in large part by the play of Davis and Evan Turner, at the end of the first quarter to take a 29-19 lead into the second.But the Pelicans shot 53 percent from the field and 56 percent from three to outscore the Blazers by 11 in the second quarter to take a one-point lead into the intermission.With Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins dominating on both sides of the ball, New Orleans managed to retain their lead going into the fourth quarter. But after three abysmal quarters, you almost knew that one of Portland’s guards was going to get it going in the final 12 minutes. And sure enough, McCollum answered the call, going 4-of-7 from the field, 3-of-4 from three and 5-of-5 from the line to spark an 11-0 run that turned the game in Portland’s favor.