Pelicans shock the Blazers late
In surrendering 110 points to Pelicans, the Trail Blazers allowed at least 100 points for the 13th time in December and have surrendered an average of 111.7 points in their past four games. The only two games this month in which the Blazers held their opponents under 100 were their victories over the last-place Utah Jazz.
Tyreke Evans' fade-away jump shot from the wing with 1.2 seconds left propelled the New Orleans Pelicans (14-15) to a 110-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (24-7) and jolted the sellout crowd of 17,035 inside the New Orleans Arena on Monday night.
When LaMarcus Aldridge's shot from the baseline rimmed out with the clock expiring, the Pelicans officially had their first signature victory under their rebranded monicker.
The Pelicans' only other win against a team over .500 was their 105-89 win over the Nuggets (then 14-13) on Friday.
More significant for Pelicans coach Monty Williams was the standout performance of his guards, Jrue Holiday and Evans. Holiday scored a game-high 31 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter. Evans chipped in 20 off of the bench, including the game-winner.
That overshadowed explosive performances from the Blazers' Aldridge (28 points) and point guard Damian Lillard (29).
The Pelicans destroyed the Blazers inside, piling up a 68-32 advantage in the paint. New Orleans did most of its damage early, outscoring Portland 36-14 in the paint during the first 18 minutes. Drives by Evans and putbacks by Davis put the Blazers on their heels defensively, and Stotts was angered by his team's effort in stemming the Pelicans' early attack.
With the Pelicans leading 106-105 in the final minute, Holiday scooped up a loose ball off Evans' drive and drained a 22-foot jump shot from the corner as the shot clock expired. Initially ruled a 3-pointer, the shot was later reviewed and ruled a two.
While Lillard tied the score 45 seconds later on a 27-foot 3-pointer from the top of the key, it was Holiday's buzzer-beater that lifted the Pelicans, helping set up Evans' game-winner.