Ingram’s big night lifts Pelicans to win at Trailblazers
With its sunnier days setting and its star fading fast in West, the New Orleans Pelicans desperately needed a win in Portland Wednesday night against a team it is battling with for a playoff, play-in spot.
Thanks to its star rising to the challenge, the task was accomplished.
Brandon Ingram pumped in 40 points and added six rebounds, five assists and two steals to propel New Orleans to a 121-110 win over the Blazers at Moda Center to snap a four-game losing streak.
Trailing 81-80 heading to the fourth quarter, the Pelicans outscored the Blazers 31-19 in the decisive fourth quarter to pick up the win.
CJ McCollum returned to his former home and played well with 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Playing without Jonas Valanciunas, who missed just his second game of the season with a left half contusion. Backup center Larry Nance Jr. remained out as well and New Orleans is without Jose Alvarado and, of course, Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans turned to Jaxson Hayes, who came up big off the bench, scoring 15 points with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Pelicans did an excellent job of protecting the ball, committing just six turnovers and New Orleans excelled at the free throw line, sinking 20 of 23 attempts.
After having just five assists in the first half, the Pelicans shared the ball well in the second half, dishing out 18 assists.
Dame Lillard had 41 points and eight rebounds for Portland but had no assists.
The win places New Orleans in the tenth and final play-in position in the Western Conference.
The game was important to the Pelicans on several levels.
First, it ended a stretch of bad basketball by the team, now 8-19 since the start of the New Year.
Second, it came against a team it is competing with to make the postseason.
Third, it came without key players being available.
Finally, it came against a team it had to beat with two difficult road games remaining on the trip against the Lakers and the talented young, surging Sacramento Kings.
If the Pelicans are going to win another game on the trip and have a shot at making the playoffs, they will need their star to shine very brightly the rest of the way.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…