Blazers maintain mastery of Pels
PORTLAND — Damian Lillard said that he cannot take lone credit for the Portland Trail Blazers' latest win.
Lillard, who led all scorers with 30 points in a 105-101 victory over New Orleans on Monday night, called it a group effort.
He credited CJ McCollum, who finished with 16 points, for being Portland's energy down the stretch in its seventh straight win over the Pelicans.
"I think for me and him, that's something that we got to do a lot of this year, make guys better and put guys in a position to be successful," Lillard said.
Gerald Henderson added 19 points off the bench for the Blazers, matching his career high with four 3-pointers.
"He was a reason why we had control of the game for a lot of the game," Lillard said.
Mason Plumlee also contributed, recording his eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He leads the Blazers in double-doubles.
Henderson's reverse layup put the Blazers in front 82-69 early in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans rallied within five points.
After Lillard hit a 3 for a 95-84 lead, the Pelicans pressured the Blazers, twice coming within four points. Anthony Davis' driving layup made it 101-97 with just under a minute left, but it was as close as New Orleans could come.
"We have to be a team that isn't fun to play against," Lillard said. "We have to take pride in that."
The Pelicans led 27-18 late in the first quarter. New Orleans shot only 3 for 16 in the second half and Portland rallied for a 50-48 lead.
"We're playing hard and competing like crazy. But it takes more than that to win games. You've got to play smart basketball," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
Plumlee had three dunks, including two on back-to-back possessions, to highlight an 11-0 run that gave the Blazers a 68-56 lead in the third quarter.
Davis led the Pelicans with 28 points and nine rebounds. Davis said it is not a lack of skill, but the number of mental mistakes that cost them the game.
Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans, while Jrue Holiday added 19 points off the bench.
Pelicans: New Orleans has lost 10 straight in Portland. ... The Pelicans have won just one game on the road this season.
Trail Blazers: Allen Crabbe had a career-high five assists. ... Plumlee also had a career-high six assists.
Ryan Anderson returned to the Pelicans' lineup after missing two games with a stomach virus, but rumors swirled about his future in New Orleans. The Pelicans were reportedly exploring options to trade him. On Tuesday, NBA teams can trade players that signed free agent contracts before Sept. 16.
It was the 30th game of Lillard's career that he's scored 30 points. This season, Lillard has 21 games with 20 or more points, tying him with James Harden for second-most in the NBA behind Stephen Curry, who has 23.
What is it about Portland?
Davis maintains there's no curse: "We've just got to be more disciplined. We're a team that feels we can win anywhere, whether it's Portland or anywhere else in the league. We've just got to stay disciplined and stick with our game
The Pelicans visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
The Blazers play at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.