Lillard's 50 helps Blazers erase 17-point deficit in 4th vs. Pelicans
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 50 points and 10 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers came from behind to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-124 on Tuesday night.
Lillard, who finished with six 3-pointers, made two clutch free throws with 1.2 seconds left for for Portland, which trailed New Orleans by as many as 17 points. It was Lillard's fifth game this season with 40 or more points.
Brandon Ingram scored 30 points and Zion Williamson added 28 for the Pelicans. Lonzo Ball had 11 points and a season-high 17 assists.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 20 points, including six 3-pointers, off the bench for New Orleans. His 3 midway through the final quarter stretched the Pelicans' lead to 112-96.
But Gary Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer pulled the Blazers to within 117-113 with 3:30 left in the game. Lillard added a 3 to make it a one-point game.
Eric Bledsoe answered with a 3 for New Orleans, but Carmelo Anthony's jumper kept it close. Williamson's layup made it 122-118 with just over a minute to go.
After Lillard's layup and a free throw, Williamson made another layup. But Lillard was fouled and made both his shots, and with 4.2 second left the Blazers got the ball with the Pelicans hanging on to a 124-123 lead.
Bledsoe fouled Lillard, who made both his shots to put Portland up 125-124 with 1.2 seconds left. Williamson's layup at the other end at the buzzer was missed the mark.
CJ McCollum, who was out with a fractured left foot, returned and finished with 10 points in 27 minutes. McCollum was averaging a career-best 26.7 points, as well as five assists, when he was injured during a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 16.
McCollum started, but coach Terry Stotts said before the game that his minutes would be limited. The Blazers were still awaiting the return of Jusuf Nurkic, who fractured his wrist during a January game
McCollum's first basket from the field was a first-quarter 3-pointer off a pass from Lillard.
Lillard, who was ranked second in the league with an average of 29.9 points a game, got hit in the hand early in the game and was treated during a timeout, but he returned.
New Orleans stretched the lead to as many as 16 points in the opening half before going into the break up 64-50. Williamson and Ingram combined for 30 of the Pelicans' first-half points.
The Blazers closed to within 71-64 in the third quarter after Lillard's layup, but they couldn't get any closer until the final minutes.
It was the second of three meetings between the teams. Portland won the first 126-124 in New Orleans on Feb. 4.
Pelicans: New Orleans won all four of the games against the Blazers last season. ... The Pelicans were coming off a 135-115 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Clippers. ... It was Ball's second double-double this season.
Trail Blazers: Portland was coming off a 114-112 loss at Minnesota on Sunday. ... Lillard surpassed 16,000 career points and 4,000 assists, joining just three other players — Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird LeBron James — to reach those marks in their first nine seasons. ... Lillard has five 40-point games this season.
The teams meet again on Thursday.
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