Postgame recap: Trail Blazers 103, Pelicans 93
Trail Blazers (3-1), Pelicans (1-3)
PORTLAND – Despite losing four-time All-Star forward Anthony Davis to injury after just five minutes of action Tuesday, New Orleans played evenly with Portland for much of the Western Conference matchup. Ultimately a familiar scenario played out for the Pelicans in Oregon, however, with the Trail Blazers making more big plays down the stretch in order to prevail.
Davis only played 5:01 before leaving with a left knee injury, apparently from bumping knees with a Portland player. ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Davis underwent an MRI at the Moda Center during the game. After the defeat, Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry said that MRI result on Davis came back negative.
DeMarcus Cousins responded with a huge scoring night in Davis’ absence, but it wasn’t enough for New Orleans late. Portland’s elite backcourt tandem of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard helped the hosts put together a huge fourth-quarter surge, including opening that stanza with a 21-7 spurt that turned a three-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans committed a turnover with 51 seconds left when Dante Cunningham slipped and fell as he was trying to receive a pass in the right corner from Jameer Nelson. McCollum dropped in a floater at the other end to give the Trail Blazers a 101-93 advantage.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Particularly in the third quarter, Cousins dominated, with Portland unable to come up with a way to stop the 6-foot-11 force. A season after posting a 55-point game against the Trail Blazers while playing for Sacramento, Cousins registered 39 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. He poured in 18 third-quarter points, a major chunk of the visitors’ 25-24 edge in that period. “I found my angles,” Cousins said of his offensive success. “(Portland’s) bigs, they kind of dared me a lot tonight… I was able to get them on their heels and try to take advantage of that.”
QUOTES TO NOTE
“I don’t know a whole lot. Our trainers just said they did an MRI and it came back negative. That is all I know. I’m sure we’ll know more (Wednesday).” – Gentry on the status of Davis. Wojnarowski reported late Tuesday that Davis will be considered day-to-day
“I had a little wishful thinking, I was hoping AD would kind of make a return. But I had to step up to the plate. That’s what I tried to do.” – Cousins on Davis leaving in the first quarter and Cousins’ response to that void
“We battled. That’s all I can ask the guys to do. I thought we played extremely hard.” – Gentry on his team’s effort
BY THE NUMBERS
39.5: New Orleans shooting percentage from the field during a game that was not pretty at all offensively. Portland was even worse, finishing at 37.5 percent.
39: Combined points for the Pelicans in the first and fourth quarters. The Trail Blazers used a 61-39 edge in those periods to spark their victory.
3/16: Shooting from the floor for Lillard, a rare extremely poor night for the star guard vs. New Orleans. McCollum also had a rough night before hitting several momentum-grabbing shots in the fourth quarter.