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Evans, Holiday lead Pelicans past Blazers 110-108


December 30. 2013 11:35PM
Associated Press

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(AP) Tyreke Evans hit a pull-up jumper from 17 feet with 1.2 seconds left and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-108 on Monday night.


Evans' big basket came right after Portland's Damian Lillard, who has hit several game-winners this season, made a contested 3-pointer to tie the score at 108. New Orleans, which won its fourth in a row at home, never trailed in the second half but never led by more than five in the final 10 minutes.


Jrue Holiday scored 15 of his season-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and tied a season high with 13 assists for the Pelicans. Anthony Davis added 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Evans had 20 points.


Davis forced LaMarcus Aldridge into a tough shot from the baseline that bounced off the top of the backboard as time ran out.


Lillard scored 29 points and Aldridge had 28 for Portland (24-7), which lost its second straight.


Before Evans' game-winner, Holiday hit a series of huge shots, answering every Portland challenge in the fourth quarter.


When the Blazers scored the first seven points to tie the score at 89, he sank a 3-pointer. Holiday then hit an outside shot and a buzzer-beating driving bank to keep the Pelicans ahead 98-95.


After Nicolas Batum missed a free throw that would have given Portland its first lead since 33-32 in the second quarter, Holiday sank a floater to make the score 100-98.


After Aldridge missed an outside shot with the score tied at 100, Holiday sank one from just beyond the free throw line.


The Blazers, who have struggled defensively lately, allowed the Pelicans to hit 53.9 percent of their shots. Portland entered having allowed an average of 111.8 points in its last four games.


The Pelicans limited the Blazers to 44.3 percent shooting, and Davis was a major factor. He blocked two fallaway attempts from Aldridge before stifling him on the final shot.


The Pelicans dominated the first half statistically shooting 52.2 percent to the Blazers' 38.3 percent and outrebounding them 28-19 so New Orleans' 56-49 lead at the break felt as though it should have been larger.


New Orleans outrebounded the Blazers 18-8 in the first quarter, had a 10-0 advantage in second-chance points and held Lillard to one basket. The Pelicans also committed only one turnover, yet were up only 26-21.


That advantage disappeared quickly when Dorell Wright and Lillard sank consecutive 3-pointers to put Portland ahead 33-32 early in the second, but Evans scored six in a row to start a 12-0 New Orleans run.


At the end of that spurt, Davis pinned a driving attempt by Wesley Matthews near the bottom of the backboard, setting up Evans for a coast-to-coast layup.


Aldridge kept the Blazers within range by hitting an array of shots on his way to 16 first-half points, including a tough fallaway, a catch-and release with his heels on the 3-point line and a driving three-point play.


NOTES: Pelicans guard Eric Gordon missed his third consecutive game with a bruised right hip. . Pelicans center Jason Smith sat out with a left shoulder injury. He had missed three games with a bruised right knee before returning against Houston on Saturday. . New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton sat courtside a day after his team clinched its fourth NFL playoff berth in the last five years. . The Pelicans' Ryan Anderson had made at least one 3-pointer in all 20 games he played in this season and 26 in a row dating to last season.


Associated Press


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