Lillard ignites Blazers
Damian Lillard scored 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter as the Trail Blazers successfully passed another challenge with a 107-103 victory at New Orleans on Tuesday night.
Jusuf Nurkic had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Al-Farouq Aminu collected 10 points and 10 boards for Portland (46-28).
But it was the fourth-quarter fireworks by Lillard — who played the entire second half — that sparked the win.
"About two minutes into the fourth (quarter), I was gassed," Lillard said. "Everybody on the bench kept encouraging me to keep going. I found it in myself. I'm glad I had a big quarter, and we got a 'W.'"
The Blazers survived terrible shooting games by CJ McCollum (3 for 19) and Aminu (3 for 13).
Lillard was 18 for 33 from the field and had nine rebounds, six assists and four steals with no turnovers in 42 minutes in one of his best all-around games of the season.
Anthony Davis had an equally impressive game for New Orleans (41-34), with 36 points on 15-for-24 shooting to go with 14 rebounds, six blocked shots and four assists.
Jrue Holiday had a triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
The two Pelican stars simply didn't have enough help.
New Orleans led throughout the first half, holding a 24-20 edge after one quarter and 49-46 at the half.
The Pelicans were on top 71-62 late in the third quarter, but the Blazers closed to within 73-71. New Orleans took a 75-71 advantage into the final period.
Lillard scored three straight baskets to give Portland a 78-75 lead, finishing a 17-4 run. The Pelicans scored four in a row to go ahead 79-78, and the teams went back and forth for a few minutes. Portland scored four straight to take an 89-84 lead with 7:30 left.
Solomon Hill knocked down a 3-pointer to tie it at 91-91 with 5:57 to go. Lillard scored on a drive to push Portland ahead 93-91, but Davis answered with a layup to tie it at 93-93.
Davis gave New Orleans an 95-93 advantage on a runner with 4:13 to play, but Nurkic's three-point play pulled the Blazers back on top 96-95 with 3:55 remaining. Holiday's layup made it 97-96 New Orleans, but Nurkic's jump hook gave the Blazers the lead back at 98-97.
Evan Turner sank a 3 to hike Portland's advantage to 101-97. Davis followed with a pair of foul shots to cut it to 101-99 with 2:06 remaining.
Lillard's rebound basket made it 103-99, but Holiday's layup trimmed it to 103-101 with 1:08 to go. Aminu's tip-in upped Portland's lead to 105-101 with 28.0 seconds to play.
Davis' layup made it 105-103, and after Pat Connaughton's dunk was blocked by Holiday, the Pelicans' E'Twaun Moore missed two open 3-point shots.
Lillard hit a pair of foul shots with 1.3 seconds left — running his franchise record to 62 straight makes — to wrap things up.
NOTES — The Blazers end a three-game road trip Wednesday at Memphis against the 20-54 Grizzlies. ... Starting small forward Moe Harkless will underog an arthroscopy Wednesday in Portland to remove a loose body in his left knee. A time line for the return of Harkless, who missed Tuesday's game, will be determined after the procedure.