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Lillard leads way as Trail Blazers get by Pelicans

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The Canadian Press
12/22/2013 12:50:00 AM
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:27 to play and finished with 29 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 110-107 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.

Lamarcus Aldridge and Wesley Mathews added 18 points apiece for the Trail Blazers, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans each missed on 3-point attempts in the final 5 seconds and the Pelicans (11-14) lost their fourth consecutive game of a five-game swing that concludes Monday at Sacramento.

Robin Lopez had 14 points and eight rebounds and Nicholas Batum added 11 points to help the Trail Blazers rebound from Wednesday's 120-109 loss at Minnesota.

Anthony Davis and Evans finished with 21 points each to pace five New Orleans players in double figures.

The Pelicans hit eight of their first 11 shots including 3-pointers by Anderson and Eric Gordon to take an 18-7 lead after the opening 5:36.

Portland's Dorell Wright scored on a layup to pull the Blazers within 32-30 with 8:27 to play in the second quarter, but the Pelicans answered with a 17-6 run, opening their largest lead of the half, 49-36, on Alexis Ajinca's layup with 4:05 to play.

Lillard, held without a field goal in the first quarter, hit 5 of 7 shots in the second, including a 3-pointer that put the Blazers on top 52-51 with 29 seconds left in the half. Anthony Davis followed with a dunk off an offensive rebound to give the Pelicans a 53-52 lead at the break.

After shooting 40 per cent (20 of 50) in the first half, the Blazers made 7 of 11 shots to open the third quarter and took a 69-59 lead when Batum set up Aldridge in transition for a dunk.

The Pelicans crept back within three before Lillard made an acrobatic catch and shot on Batum's inbounds lob just before the third-quarter buzzer to give the Blazers an 83-78 advantage.

In the fourth, New Orleans erased another 10-point deficit and took a 105-103 lead when Davis followed up a miss by Evans and dunked with 2:19 remaining.

After an offensive foul on Pelicans' guard Jrue Holiday gave the ball back to Portland, Lillard hit a shot from deep beyond the top of the arc to give the Blazers the lead for good.

The Blazers are off until they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

NOTES: Portland coach Terry Stotts said there is no timeline on a return for rookie guard CJ McCollum, who participated in a full practice Friday for the first time since fracturing his left foot during practice on Oct. 5. . The last time the Blazers had fewer than 10 losses through 28 games was in 1999-2000, when they started 21-7 en route to a monumental fourth-quarter meltdown in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. . Lillard went into Saturday's game averaging 21.3 points and ranked third in the league among point guards behind Golden State's Stephen Curry (24.5) and Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (21.8).

Damian Lillard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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