Portland guard CJ McCollum makes a no-look pass during the second half against New Orleans in Portland Saturday. The Pelicans won, 123-116. [STEVE DYKES/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Blazers can't handle Cousins in loss

PORTLAND — The Pelicans were motivated against the Trail Blazers by a tough loss the night before and the absence of Anthony Davis.

DeMarcus Cousins had 38 points and New Orleans — missing Davis because of a pelvic injury — beat Portland 123-116 on Saturday night.

E'Twaun Moore added 19 points, including four 3-pointers for the Pelicans, who were playing the second of a back-to-back after a loss to the Jazz the night before. They snapped a three-game losing skid.

"I think it was a great team effort. We preached before the game, 'No excuses,'" Cousins said. "It stinks that my partner in crime AD went out last night. That being said we kind of crumbled as a team the previous night. We just tried to come in with no excuses."

Damian Lillard had 29 points and eight assists for the Blazers, who have lost two straight after a three-game winning streak. CJ McCollum added 17 points.

Lillard got the Blazers within 116-107 with a layup with 2:20 left, but Jrue Holiday answered with a layup. Lillard had a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go that narrowed the game to 121-116, as close as Portland would get.

The Pelicans, who led by as many as 19 points, were short-handed because of injuries, suiting up 11 players for the game.

Davis, the Pelicans' top scorer with an average of 25.2 points, was ruled out against the Blazers because of the injury. An All-Star, Davis was injured in the fourth quarter against the Jazz and was carried off the court because he couldn't put pressure on his legs. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds before leaving and New Orleans lost to the Jazz 114-108.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry called the effort against the Blazers "truly a team win."

"We have to do that in order to win, and I thought we were really focused when we went out," Gentry said. "We built a lead, they cut back into it, but I think we did a really good job of just standing pat."

Lillard had 13 points in the first quarter, and his 3-pointer with 2:15 left in the period gave the Blazers a 31-17 lead. Cousins' basket got New Orleans within 35-32 in the second quarter and the Pelicans took a 60-57 lead into halftime after consecutive 3-pointers from Moore and Rajon Rondo.

The Pelicans went on an 11-4 run to start the third quarter, pushing their lead to 71-61. They would lead by as many as 18 points in the period.


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