McCollum's 30 points, Williamson's double-double propel the Pelicans past Trail Blazers 126-107

Sat, Mar 16, 2024
NBA News (AP)

McCollum's 30 points, Williamson's double-double propel the Pelicans past Trail Blazers 126-107

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - CJ McCollum scored 30 points, Zion Williamson had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 126-107 on Saturday night for their sixth victory in seven games.

Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and blocked four shots, and Trey Murphy III added 20 points for the Pelicans, who shot 53.6% (52 of 97) and broke open a competitive game in the fourth quarter. McCollum made six of the Pelicans' 13 3-pointers, and Murphy hit four.

The victory pulled the Pelicans (41-26) within 1 1/2 games of the idle Los Angeles Clippers (42-24) for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Portland guard Dalano Banton scored 28 points, his third time scoring 25 or more points in his last six games, including a career-high 30 points on March 8 against Houston. Anfernee Simmons scored 25 and Deandre Ayton had 20 points for the Blazers, who shot 50% (42 of 84).

New Orleans was without defensive leader Herb Jones, who had bruised his elbow and hip on a hard fall during Friday night's victory over the Clippers. The Pelicans also were without reserve forward Larry Nance Jr., who had a non-COVID illness.

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Jones' absence appeared to affect the tenor of the game.

Both teams shot better than 63% in what had the look of a defense-optional first half, during which Williamson and Banton each scored 20 points.

Williamson was 9-of-11 shooting in the half, scoring mostly on explosive drives. He also converted a couple of alley-oop lobs.

In the final seconds of the half, Williamson rose to grab a contested lob from Ingram on the left side of the hoop and executed an off-balance layup before crashing to the court. That gave New Orleans a 73-68 lead at the break.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Visit Chicago on Monday night.

Pelicans: Visit Brooklyn on Tuesday night.

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