Murphy hits 9 3s, scores 41, Pelicans down Blazers 127-110
By BRETT MARTEL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Trey Murphy III hit a career-best nine 3-pointers to highlight his career-high 41 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-110 on Sunday night.
Murphy, who participated in the dunk contest during NBA All-Star weekend last month, also had a couple baskets of the high-flying variety, scoring his final points on a driving, two-handed reverse dunk before checking out of the game for good to a standing ovation.
CJ McCollum had 22 points and 11 assists for New Orleans, which made 18 of its first 30 3-point attempts as a team before finishing 19 of 40 (47.5%) from deep.
Josh Richardson scored 19 points for the Pelicans, who won for the second time in two games as they try to stay in contention for a Western Conference postseason berth.
Herbert Jones added 16 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 12 rebounds to help New Orleans win handily despite playing for a second straight game without high-scoring wing Brandon Ingram (right ankle).
The Blazers played without star guard and leading scorer Damian Lillard, who sat out because of tightness in his right calf.
Anfernee Simons scored 17 for Portland, while Shaedon Sharpe and Kevin Knox each scored 14 points and Cam Reddish added 11.
Coming off a lackluster, double-digit home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday night that saw them trailing by 21 in the first half, the Pelicans flipped the script against Portland.
Murphy hit five of his 3s and scored 25 points in the opening 24 minutes, when New Orleans led by as many as 20. McCollum had all of his points in the first half and the veteran guard was able to go to the bench for good after playing just 30 minutes in all.
New Orleans led 74-54 at halftime and led by as many as 39 points in the second half.
Trail Blazers: Fell to 5-10 without Lillard. ... Matisse Thybulle, Nassir Little and Trendon Watford each scored 10 points. ... Committed 19 turnovers, which led to 27 Pelicans points. ... Outscored New Orleans in the paint, 64-44.
Pelicans: Larry Nance Jr. returned after missing six games with a left ankle injury. He played eight minutes in a reserve role and had 2 points and 2 rebounds. ... Have a 10-21 record since Williamson went out with an injured right hamstring on Jan. 2. ... Improved to 9-11 in games without both Williamson and Ingram.
Trail Blazers: Host the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
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