Pelicans wallop Blazers, 127-94

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It was a prosperous night for the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday.

Make that a very prosperous night.

First, the Pelicans took care of business against a depleted Portland squad, routing the Blazers 127-94 to complete of the season series.

The good news was that New Orleans did it without Brandon Ingram, who sat out and did not have to fully exert themselves.

No one played more than 29 minutes for the Pelicans and that is huge with a big weekend of two games in two days coming up.

The better news is that the San Antonio Spurs lost at Minnesota 127-121.

The result is that the Pelicans are now two games ahead of the Spurs with two games to go.

That means the magic number is one for the Pelicans to clinch the ninth spot and to host the Spurs in a play-in game as opposed to having to play at San Antonio.

The Pelicans shared the ball well and got balanced scoring against the Blazers.

CJ McCollum put it to his former team once again, leading New Orleans with 23 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. McCollum was 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

Willy Hernangomez came off the bench in huge fashion with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Hernangomez is always ready when called on and always produces. Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Trey Murphy added 12 points, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range while Larry Nance Jr. had 12 points and Jaxson Hayes finished with 11 points. Herb Jones had nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and a highlight reel block.

The Pelicans had 31 assists on 44 made shots and New Orleans crushed Portland 49-27 on the boards, including a whopping 23 offensive rebounds. The Pelicans won the battle of the paint by a 56-46 scoring margin.

The Blazers committed 22 turnovers and New Orleans converted those into 36 points, a deciding factor in the contest.

The New Orleans bench was simply superb, scoring 64 points.

The Pelicans led by as many as 37 points.

Now, the Pelicans face a tough road game at Memphis, an elite team.

The Grizzlies have clinched the second seed in the Western Conference so the question remains who they will play and for how long Saturday night?

Then comes Golden State at home Sunday in the regular season finale.

The Warriors are locked in a very tight battle with Dallas for the third spot in the West. Golden State has a back-to-back as well against the Spurs and Pelicans.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr said Thursday that Klay Thompson, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala will not play both games but he did not say how he would decide who plays which game.

New Orleans hopes to get Ingram back this weekend as he deals with continuing hamstring tightness.

He was not needed Thursday night.

After starting 1-12, the Pelicans are now 35-32 since then.

Are we having fun yet?

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

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…

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