PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – DeMarcus Cousins had 38 points and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the absence of Anthony Davis for a 123-116 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
E’Twaun Moore added 19 points for the Pelicans, who were playing the second of a back-to-back. The victory stopped a three-game losing skid.
Damian Lillard had 29 points and eight assists for the Blazers, who have lost two straight after a three-game winning streak. CJ McCollum added 17 points.
Lillard got the Blazers within 116-107 with a layup with 2:20 left, but Jrue Holiday answered with a layup. Lillard had a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go that narrowed the game to 121-116, as close as Portland would get.
The Pelicans, who led by as many as 19 points, were short-handed because of injuries, suiting up 11 players for the game.
Davis, the Pelicans’ top scorer with an average of 25.2 points, was ruled out against the Blazers because of a pelvis injury. An All-Star, Davis was injured in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz on Friday night and carried off the court because he couldn’t put pressure on his legs.
He had 19 points and 10 rebounds before leaving and New Orleans lost to the Jazz 114-108.
Lillard had 13 points in the first quarter, and his 3-pointer with 2:15 left in the period gave the Blazers a 31-17 lead. Cousins’ basket got New Orleans within 35-32 in the second quarter and the Pelicans took a 60-57 lead into halftime after consecutive 3-pointers from Moore and Rajon Rondo.
The Pelicans went on an 11-4 run to start the third quarter, pushing their lead to 71-61. They would led by as many as 18 points in the period.
The game got chippy near the end of the quarter. Meyers Leonard was handed a flagrant foul on Cousins, a call that fans at the Moda Center weren’t happy about. Soon thereafter Blazers coach Terry Stotts, still seemingly heated over Leonard’s technical, was handed one himself and Leonard was hit with his fourth personal foul as fans continued to boo the officials.
Jameer Nelson hit Leonard in the face on the other end and Leonard flung the ball toward the basket – and it went in. Nelson also got a flagrant.
The Blazers were coming off a 103-91 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday. It was the team’s first home game after a 4-1 trip.
Pelicans: Dante Cunningham started in Davis’ place. … The Pelicans’ 38 third-quarter points were a season high.
Trail Blazers: Portland won the first meeting between the teams 103-93 on Oct. 24. … Leonard had been booed following his last game, something that teammate Jusuf Nurkic had criticized. But when Leonard went to the bench in the fourth quarter with a season-high 15 points, fans cheered him.
The Pelicans host the Golden State Warriors on Monday.
The Trail Blazers host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.