Ingram has 40 points, Pelicans beat Trail Blazers 121-110
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Brandon Ingram had a season-high 40 points and the New Orleans Pelicans beat Portland 121-110 on Wednesday night in the first showdown between Damian Lillard and former Trail Blazers teammate CJ McCollum.
McCollum added 24 points to help the Pelicans snap a four-game losing streak.
Lillard scored 41 points for the Trail Blazers. He pumped both fists while he was down on the court after making a tough floater in the third quarter, and he added a free throw to give the Blazers an 85-80 lead.
Portland had a 91-90 edge heading into the final quarter. But Ingram had back-to-back jumpers that gave New Orleans a 108-99 lead midway through the period. Naji Marshall added a layup to extend the lead as Portland went cold from the field.
Ingram’s layup with 2:55 left gave the Pelicans a 114-101 lead and all but sealed the victory.
The game marked the first time that Lillard and McCollum played against each other after some nine years together in Portland’s backcourt.
McCollum was traded to New Orleans at last season’s trade deadline. Lillard was injured at the time and did not play in the two meetings between the two teams after the trade.
Lillard was also absent for Portland’s visit to New Orleans earlier this season because of injury management.
“I know it’s weird for CJ coming into the building as an opponent,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. McCollum was given a hearty ovation when he was introduced before the game.
Both the Blazers and the Pelicans are in a logjam of teams fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. New Orleans was sitting in 10th place in the standings, a half-game up on Portland.
The Blazers were coming off a disheartening loss to the Golden State Warriors the night before, squandering a 23-point lead for a 123-105 loss.
Portland welcomed back guard Anfernee Simons, who missed three games because of a right ankle sprain. He started but appeared to tweak the ankle late in the third quarter and headed to the locker room.
The first half was tight with Lillard scoring 18 points and the Blazers ahead 56-53 at the break. Portland went up 67-59 early in the second half after consecutive 3-pointers from Simons and Lillard.
Pelicans: Jonas Valanciunas was ruled out of the game because of a left calf contusion. Josh Richardson was questionable with a quad contusion but started. ... It was the first of a three-game West Coast swing.
Trail Blazers: Portland remains without Jusuf Nurkic, who has missed the last 11 games with a left calf strain. Ask when he might return, Billups said: “I’m not sure, he’s started to get on the court and everything, so to me that’s a great sign. So I’m hoping sooner rather than later.” ... Portland won the first meeting with the Pelicans 106-95.
Pelicans: At Golden State on Friday night.
Trail Blazers: At Atlanta on Friday night to open a six-game trip.
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