The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (29 points, 5 assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (28 points, 8 rebounds), with support from Wesley Matthews (18 points, 5 rebounds) and Nic Batum (8 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists).
In the first quarter, Aldridge reached two milestones as a Blazer: He scored his 10,000 point, and he passed Jim Paxson's career total of 10,003 points. He's now fifth in career Blazer scoring. Look out, Jerome Kersey.
First Quarter: Aldridge passes 10,000 points early in the game as the teams repeatedly swapped leads. Lope was active early, but unfortunately he picked up his second foul and headed to the bench. As soon as he went out, Davis enjoyed the open lane. After Pelican dunks ahoy, Portland needed a timeout, down 6. Afterward, they promptly turned the ball over for a Pelican layup. The Blazers successfully kept things close though, which was nice after an ugly quarter.
New Orleans 26, Portland 21
Why does every offensive set start with Dame picking up his dribble 6 feet behind the 3pt line and making a lazy pass?
Second Quarter: The Blazers quickly took the lead... then fell apart again. They had multiple turnovers and gave up easy layups, including in transition after a made bucket. Portland's shots kept bricking, and soon New Orleans scored 12 straight points to lead by 11, then 13. The Blazer starters quickly returned to the game, and Aldridge helped cut the deficit to 8. They cut it to 3 on a Lillard three-pointer, but promptly fell apart and gave up more easy points to fall further behind before halftime.
New Orleans 56, Portland 49
Maybe Paul Allen can bring Richard Sherman from the Hawks to the Blazers.
Third Quarter: More of the same, as the Blazers continued to miss shots, and couldn't shut down the Pelicans. They cut it to three, but immediately gave up three layups again. They cut the deficit to one, and boom, gave up two more layups at the other end. Their defensive communication was a mess, and the players were showing frustration. The Pelicans easily scored 8 straight points to push the Blazers away again.
New Orleans 89, Portland 82
Fourth Quarter: As Anthony Davis sat down, time for a Blazer run. Matthews came alive and pulled the Blazers close in the first two minutes, helped with a little defense. Aldridge tied it at 89 with 9 minutes to go. That brought Davis right back in. And New Orleans quickly restored a 5 point lead. However, it was the Blazers' turn, with a few key shots and defensive stands, they tied it again with 5:30 left. They swapped buckets as the clock ticked under 4, still tied. However, the Blazer defense lost the Pelicans again, and they went up 4 with 3 minutes left. The Blazers called timeout in order to regroup. They swapped buckets for the next minute, but Mo Williams hit a three to cut the lead to 1 with two minutes left. After a defensive stop, the Blazers botched a possession, and on a broken play, Jrue Holliday hit a tough three-pointer to restore their 4 point lead... only for the refs to reverse it into a two-pointer. That kept the Blazers within three. Lillard nailed a miracle three to tie the game, but Tyreke Evans hit a huge two at the other end to regain the lead with 1 second left. The Blazers were out of comebacks, so New Orleans celebrated a huge victory.
The Blazers are right back in action tomorrow night in Oklahoma City, who will be missing Russell Westbrook. In the meantime, stay tuned for more analysis from Dave later tonight. -- Tim
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