Postgame wrap: Trail Blazers 128, Pelicans 112

Trail Blazers (28-19), Pelicans (21-25)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

PORTLAND – Portland spent an entire offseason listening to talk about how poorly the ’18 playoffs went, featuring a first-round sweep against lower-seeded New Orleans. The Trail Blazers appeared to take out much of their frustration in a Friday matchup with the Pelicans, building a big early lead and never easing up on the gas pedal. Behind many of the same faces at the wrong end of last spring’s Western Conference quarterfinal, Portland poured in 42 second-quarter points to take command, and were over the century mark by the end of the third period.

Blazers reserve forward Jake Layman was an unlikely hero, producing a barrage of offensive fireworks in that second stanza, scoring 20 points in 12 minutes on 8/11 shooting.

New Orleans dropped to 1-3 on a five-game road trip that concludes Monday in Memphis.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Damian Lillard nailed a left-wing three-pointer, giving Portland a 124-112 lead with two-plus minutes remaining. Lillard’s back-breaking bucket came after the Trail Blazers grabbed another long offensive rebound, an area that severely hurt the Pelicans in the second half. Portland notched its sixth consecutive home win at Moda Center.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

E’Twaun Moore followed up his 17-point Wednesday at Golden State with a second straight quality shooting performance, going for 17 points again, on 6/9 shooting (4 of 5 from three-point range). Moore struggled during the first two stops on this five-game road trip at Minnesota and the Clippers, but has responded with two above-average outings.

FOCUS ON: GETTING DEFENSIVE

Allowing 147 points against Golden State two days ago was cause for concern, but the Warriors are an elite offense and Stephen Curry had one of his supernatural nights, draining 10 three-pointers. Following Friday’s defeat, Alvin Gentry was visibly agitated by his team’s lack of resistance against the Trail Blazers, who took advantage of every mistake by the Pelicans’ defense. Portland got to the basket at will, with a combination of drives, backdoor cuts and effective post-ups. Underscoring the Blazers’ advantage in hustle and energy, they also grabbed 18 offensive rebounds – not that they needed any help piling up the points. Portland led 74-58 by halftime.

“We’ve got to do better defensively,” Gentry said. “Every night (the opponent is scoring) 130, 140, 147 and we’re not going to win games until we’re able to guard somebody. Offensively, we can’t score that many points every night to win.”

New Orleans has been a top-five offensive club all season, but much of its inconsistency is related to the Pelicans also being a bottom-tier defensive squad.

“You’ve got to keep your man in front of you and if you can’t do it, we’ve got to find somebody who can,” Gentry said. “You’ve got to guard your position. We can’t keep having guys drop to the basket and lay it in.”

BY THE NUMBERS

23-9: Portland advantage in second-chance points. Starting center Jusuf Nurkic snared five offensive rebounds.

8/25: New Orleans three-point shooting, two days after tying a franchise-record with 19 treys at Golden State.

7: Portland turnovers, another sign of a stellar offensive performance by the hosts.

GAME RECAP: Blazers 128, Pelicans 112

All five Blazers starters score in double figures led by Damian Lillard's 24 points.

Game 46: Pelicans at Trail Blazers

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GAME RECAP: Blazers 128, Pelicans 112

All five Blazers starters score in double figures led by Damian Lillard's 24 points.
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:00

New Orleans Pelicans highlights vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 128-112 in the Moda Center on Friday, Jan. 18.
Jan 19, 2019  |  08:13

Tim Frazier with the easy bucket

Tim Frazier leaks out on the fast break and gets an easy two
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:10

Jrue Holiday rips the mid-range jumper

Jrue Holiday cuts in the middle of the lane and gets the assist from AD to drain the mid-range
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:09

Nikola Mirotic drains back-to-back threes

Nikola Mirotic heats up from the outside for the Pelicans and hits two back-to-back three pointers
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:19

Anthony Davis cleans up the glass

Anthony Davis follows Julius Randle on the fast break and finishes Randle's miss with the slam
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:19

E'Twaun Moore hits early from deep

E'Twaun Moore finds his stroke early and drains a three pointer against the Trail Blazers
Jan 18, 2019  |  00:15
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