“I was in attack mode. I was taking the ball to the rim, but I saw someone come into the lane. (Mo Williams) was on me, but I made a move, leaned back and made the shot.” Tyreke Evans, Pelicans guard on winning shot
The Portland Trail Blazers had beaten the New Orleans Pelicans with a big late shot by point guard Damian Lillard in the team’s first meeting 10 days ago in Portland.
This time, it was the Pelicans who got the victory with a late clutch shot, as Tyreke Evans sank a 19-foot jumper with 1.2 seconds left, giving New Orleans a 110-108 victory on Monday at New Orleans Arena.
His shot came after Lillard’s 3-pointer had tied the score with 10 seconds left.
“I was in attack mode,” said Evans, who scored 20 points. “I was taking the ball to the rim, but I saw someone come into the lane. (Mo Williams) was on me, but I made a move, leaned back and made the shot.”
The victory was the fourth in a row at home and the third in four games overall for the Pelicans (14-15), who will embark on a four-game road trip beginning Wednesday. Portland (24-7) came into the game with the second-best record in the Western Conference but lost its second consecutive game by a late shot, having fallen to Miami at home on Saturday night.
“We made a good shot, they made a good shot,” said Portland coach Terry Stotts. “It was just another tough one to lose at the end.”
Jrue Holiday paced New Orleans with a season-high 31 points and 13 assists. He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, hitting several big shots as he seemingly refused to let the Pelicans lose in his battle with Lillard, who scored 29.
“I think I had a lot of confidence in my shot, especially coming off the screen and roll,” Holiday said. “The guard was kind of behind me, and (Blazers forward) LaMarcus (Aldridge) was kind of between (Anthony Davis) and me. So, sometimes that kind of frees you up a little bit. I started pulling up, taking my shot, and it started falling.”
Davis had 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and he was a big reason the Pelicans set a season high with 68 points in the lane, compared to the Blazers’ 32.
And, he helped preserved the win with his defense in the final seconds against Aldridge, an All-Star, who had 28 points and eight rebounds.
First, with the Pelicans leading 108-105, the Blazers predictably got the ball to Aldridge, who posted low against Davis. However Davis forced the miss with 40 seconds left.
“I just tried to stop him from going to the middle and getting to his hook (shot) that he liked to do,” Davis said, “as well as I know he likes to get in the middle and do his turnaround (jump shot).”
Then, after Evans’ clutch shot, Portland called timeout and got the ball to Aldridge, but Davis smothered him, and he again missed. The two shook hands.
“It was a war,” Davis said. “The ref told me, ‘I saw him elbow you.’ I told him, ‘don’t call it; let us fight tonight.’ ”
After Aldridge’s miss in the post, the Pelicans had the ball and seemed to have victory all but in hand. However, Holiday missed a jumper, and Lillard followed with the tying 3 shot with 10 seconds left.
Holiday had made a huge play earlier, however. New Orleans clung to a 106-105 lead when the ball was knocked loose from Evans. Holiday retrieved it, paused and hit nothing but net with 54.5 seconds left.
Holday had tied the score at 100 with a floater in the lane. He gave New Orleans the lead for good with a jumper after a pick by Davis. Then, after Evans blocked Williams shot, Holiday passed to Davis for a layup with three minutes left. Holiday sank another jumper with two minutes left to keep the Pelicans ahead by four, 106-102, before Williams hit a 3 to bring Portland to one.
The Pelicans gained control late in the first quarter and led 56-49 at halftime. They weathered the Trail Blazers in an intense third quarter, and entered the fourth with an 89-82 lead.
Having worn down the Pelicans in the third, the Trail Blazers scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 89 with 9:15 left. However, Holiday sank a 3 and Davis hit a jumper off an out of bounds play for a 94-89 lead at the 7:43 mark. But once again, the resilient Blazers bounced back.
Notes: Guard Eric Gordon and center Jason Smith were held out of the game with injuries, and backup center Greg Stiemsma was activated. Gordon has missed the last three games with a bruised right hip. Smith has a left shoulder injury, the team said. He had missed three games with a bruised right knee, but played in Saturday’s game at Houston. Smith missed 19 games last season with right shoulder injuries.