NBA: CJ McCollum leads Pelicans to victory in return to Portland
CJ McCollum scored 25 points in his first visit to Portland as a visiting player to help the New Orleans Pelicans post a 117-107 victory over the slumping Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, Brandon Ingram also scored 19 points and Jaxson Hayes had 18 as the Pelicans (33-43) won for the sixth time in nine games. New Orleans stands 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers and two ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the three-way battle for the final two Western Conference play-in berths.
Drew Eubanks scored 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting and collected nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers (27-49), who lost their fifth straight game and 15th in their past 17 outings.
Ben McLemore scored 16 points, Reggie Perry added 15 and Brandon Williams recorded 10 points and 10 assists for Portland.
Coach Green on CJ's return to Portland pic.twitter.com/BZ5vKZc0S9
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 31, 2022
McCollum, who made 9 of 16 field-goal attempts, received a rousing ovation prior to the contest in his first visit to Moda Center since being traded to the Pelicans on Feb. 8. He spent eight-plus seasons with the Trail Blazers and is the fifth-leading scorer in franchise history with 10,710 points.
Trey Murphy III added 10 points for the Pelicans, who made 51.3 percent of their shots and were 6 of 24 from behind the arc. New Orleans had 16 steals while forcing 22 turnovers.
Portland shot 45.9 percent from the field, including 14 of 42 from 3-point range.
Larry Nance Jr., who also was part of the seven-player trade between the two teams, received a pass from McCollum and delivered a thunderous dunk to cap an 8-0 run that gave New Orleans a 93-85 lead with 8:21 remaining.
Portland crept within three points before the Pelicans scored 13 of the next 19 points and held a 108-98 lead after two free throws by Ingram with 4:13 remaining.
A short time later, McCollum buried a 3-pointer to push the New Orleans lead to a game-high 13 at 113-100 with 2:59 left.
The Trail Blazers moved within 114-107 in the final minute but Valanciunas’ three-point play with 24.3 seconds remaining sealed the contest.
McCollum came out firing and scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter but Portland led 36-32 when it concluded.
McCollum had 19 on 7-of-10 shooting at the break when the Pelicans trailed 54-51.
New Orleans led 85-82 entering the final stanza.
Field Level Media
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.