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News / Sports / Blazers

Trail Blazers rally for 102-93 win over Pelicans

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: November 18, 2014, 12:00am

PORTLAND — For the second time in less than a week, the Portland Trail Blazers had a Houdini-like escape from a straight jacket of their own doing.

Six days after beating the Charlotte Hornets after trailing by 23, the Blazers came back from 16 down to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 102-93 on Monday, led by 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds from Damian Lillard and 20 points and nine rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Blazers won the final period 34-13.

Nobody was bigger, figuratively and literally in the final stage of the comeback than Robin Lopez, a former Pelican who was admittedly “removed from the proceedings” in the first three quarters.

“When he came back in the game, he was all over the place,” Stotts said. “He was changing shots at the rim, he was getting deflections.”

“It was huge,” Lillard said of Lopez’s fourth quarter play. “He took the challenge on AD (Anthony Davis) who was having a great game and is a tough cover for anybody. I could see it in his face that he was locked in and he was taking the challenge. If he hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have won this game. “

Davis, who had 25 points after three quarters, scored only six points in the fourth quarter. And Lopez, who had only two points and two rebounds after the third quarter acquitted himself in the fourth finishing with eight points and six rebounds including a couple of big baskets down the stretch.

The Blazers had trouble guarding one particular play according to Stotts. Lopez said it was a high pick-and-roll, with a “rub” action set to free the main screener with a screen for him.

“They were running a play that was difficult to guard and he was able to figure it out,” Stotts said of Lopez.

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Lillard’s pull up three with 1:14 left gave the Blazers a three-point lead which they never relinquished.

Davis was a big reason why Portland had to come back in the first place. In one span late in the second quarter he blocked a Aldridge turnaround jumper and a Wesley Matthews three in the span of about two seconds leading to two Pelicans free-throws.

Overall, Davis was the game’s most impressive player finishing with a stellar 31 points, 11 rebounds as well as three blocks, three steals and three assists. But Portland’s defensive energy and New Orleans’ shot selection late in the game almost removed him from the game late.

New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans went a combined 0-for-14 in the fourth quarter while Davis was 2-for-5.

Without starting center Omer Asik, the Pelicans played surprisingly stout defense while the Blazers were sloppy and out of rhythm.

Nothing came easy for the Blazers for most of the night with even their 8-0 lead being the product, mostly, of second chances. The Blazers had 12 turnovers in the first half.

The Blazers finished with 18 turnovers that lead to 21 New Orleans points.

The consensus from the Blazers after the game was that their defense’s ability to get stops triggered their late offensive flurry.

The start of the second half didn’t stop the New Orleans momentum. The Pelicans started the second half on a 9-2 run and the Blazers looked like they were struggling to gain traction.

Damian Lillard did all he could from the get-go and Aldridge found a rhythm as the game progressed.

Portland’s Chris Kaman brought a punch off the bench, looking like the best Blazers big man for much of the night. He notched his first double-double in a Blazers uniform with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

For veteran guard Steve Blake who closed the game and finished with five points and seven assists, another comeback shows the Blazers character.

“We have an understanding now that the game is never over,” Blake said. “A lot of lesser teams would have folded and just said ‘oh, it wasn’t our night.’ We don’t have guys that accept that and that’s huge but at the same time we don’t want to make the that a trend.”

The Blazers have the day off on Tuesday and they’ll have two more days before their next game on Friday when they host the Chicago Bulls.

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer