PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 29 points and the New Orleans Pelicans routed the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers 124-90 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.
CJ McCollum, who played nine seasons with the Blazers before he was traded to the Pelicans last season, added 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 10 points and 21 rebounds, and New Orleans led by as many as 36.
The Pelicans went into the game eighth in the Western Conference, just a half-game back of the Timberwolves with seven games remaining. Minnesota played the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Keon Johnson had 20 points off the bench for the Blazers, who have lost nine of 10 and will in all likelihood miss the playoffs for the second straight season — although they have not been mathematically eliminated. Most of their regular starters were out with injuries, including top scorer Damian Lillard (right calf), Jerami Grant (bruised left quad), Jusuf Nurkic (right knee) and Anfernee Simons (right foot).
Ingram was selected the NBA Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 31.3 points, 10 assists and 6.3 rebounds in wins over San Antonio, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Clippers last week.
He had 18 points in the first half and the Pelicans led 58-35 at halftime.
With the game well in hand, Ingram and McCollum both went to the bench for the final quarter.
Given the injuries and the Western Conference standings, Blazers coach Chauncey Billups turned his attention to developing young players.
“Most of these guys that are out there right now, they weren’t planning on being out there this time of year,” Billups said. “So they’re grateful and thankful for the opportunity. And I feel like they’re doing a pretty good job with it.”
Trail Blazers: Won the first of their four games this season against the Pelicans, but dropped the next two. … Nassir Little was given a technical foul while on the bench in the first half. … The Blazers finished with 15 assists, compared to 31 for New Orleans.