LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds, the Portland bench outscored the opposing bench 39-22, and the Portland Trail Blazers fought past a hyper motivated New Orleans Pelicans squad, 99-90 Saturday night at Moda Center.
Yet again, Portland found itself trailing by double-digits early in the first quarter. After Robin Lopez started the scoring, New Orleans rattled off an 11-2 run, and eventually led by ten. The bench came to the rescue for the Blazers, with a strong quarter from CJ McCollum (5 points) and Chris Kaman (4 points, 6 rebounds) getting Portland close. Aldridge led the scoring with seven, and while he missed a three with under two seconds remaining in the period, Kaman followed it in to keep the Blazers within two after one.
The Blazers bench stayed entirely out of control in the second quarter, dominating the battered Pelicans second unit. Steve Blake scored eight in the period, Kaman had six, McCollum had five, and the Portland bench outscored the New Orleans bench, 22-8 in the quarter. The bench combined for a +55 rating, and behind their Herculean efforts, the home team seized a lead as large as 14. They would take a 12 point lead into halftime.
Blazers fans have learned to accept that when Portland takes a big lead, a collapse will follow soon after. Sure enough, New Orleans rallied to take the lead in the third quarter behind some awful Portland shooting, Eric Gordon scoring 12 points and Tyreke Evans scoring 8, and some questionable referee decisions. The Pelicans shot out with an 18-4 run, and briefly took a small lead before the Blazers got it back. Aldridge led the scoring with eight, and Portland led by three after three.
The teams traded the lead back and forth in the fourth quarter as neither team seemed to be able to string shots together. Damian Lillard led the charge for the Blazers, scoring nine in the period, including three free throws after Nicolas Batum had given Portland the lead with a long three. A fast break tomahawk jam by Aldridge gave Portland a ten point lead they would not lose.
Kaman led the bench in scoring with 16 points to go with 11 rebounds. A night after scoring a career-high 27 against the Los Angeles Lakers, McCollum had 10. Lopez had 8 points and 12 rebounds.
Nicolas Batum, Chris Kaman, and LaMarcus Aldridge will not travel with the #Blazers to Brooklyn per sources. Will all stay home to rest.— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) April 5, 2015
Aldridge on Brooklyn game: "It's a long flight for one game, it's a long flight for one game and it's a long flight for one game"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) April 5, 2015
"I don't think Coach knows what he's talking about most of the time." — @ChrisKaman— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 5, 2015
And obviously it was a joke.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 5, 2015