Lillard helps Blazers beat Pelicans 132-119
Damian Lillard scored 26 points to help Portland beat New Orleans 132-119 on Thursday night in the first meeting between the teams since the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers in the first round of last season's playoffs.
Jusuf Nurkic added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who made 18 3-pointers in their third straight win.
New Orleans dropped its fourth consecutive game. The Pelicans were the sixth seed last season when they upset the third-seeded Blazers in the playoffs.
Julius Randle scored 29 points, but Pelicans star Anthony Davis was sidelined by a right elbow sprain. Davis had returned from the injury Wednesday night against Golden State, when he collected 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 131-121 loss to the Warriors.
Davis leads New Orleans with 25.2 points and 13 rebounds per game. He was replaced in the starting lineup against the Blazers by Jahlil Okafor.
The Blazers were home after a 3-1 trip that included victories at Orlando, Indiana and Houston.
Portland was without Maurice Harkless because of a lingering left knee injury. Harkless has played in five of the Blazers' eight games this season.
Lillard had 10 points in the first quarter and the Blazers led 35-31. The Pelicans were paced by Randle, who had 23 points in the first half before he collected three fouls and went back to the bench.
Seth Curry's 3-pointer gave the Blazers a 51-44 advantage. E'Twaun Moore's 3-pointer got the Pelicans within three late in the half, but the Blazers led 70-65 at the break.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Portland in his third double-double this season. The Blazers' reserves scored 50 points.
Nikola Mirotic finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for New Orleans, and Jrue Holiday also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists.
Pelicans: Davis warmed up with his teammates before the game. ... In his pregame talk with reporters, Alvin Gentry shot down reports of a confrontation the night before with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. "It couldn't be further from the truth," Gentry said, characterizing the conversation as friendly.
Trail Blazers: Terry Stotts was coaching his 500th game for the Blazers. ... Portland's franchise high for 3-pointers is 21. ... Portland's point total was a season high. ... The Blazers scored 30-plus points in every quarter.
Pelicans: Visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
Trail Blazers: Host LeBron James and the Lakers on Saturday.