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Portland Trail Blazers defense leads Jeremy Grant to 106-95 win over New Orleans Pelicans: buzzer

Portland Trail Blazers defense leads Jeremy Grant to 106-95 win over New Orleans Pelicans: buzzer

Damian Lillard Wasn’t satisfied with that Portland Trail Blazers Sit him as a precaution for their visit to New Orleans on Thursday night as he continues to recover from a calf injury.

This ruined a much-anticipated match against his long-time former teammate and good friend CJ McCollum.

Then came the news Jusuf Nurkic (right adductor pain) and Sheddon Sharp (sprained right finger) will also be sidelined with injury.

With so many key bodies down, the Blazers seemed like a long shot to win at the Smoothie King Center.

But once again, the Blazers’ available players stepped up their game, the defense continued to improve, and Portland pulled out a 106-95 victory.

Hay donation Led the Blazers with 27 points Anfernie Simmons 23 was scored. But it was the defense that carried the night, holding off a Pelicans team that entered Thursday’s game averaging 118.2 points, third-best in the NBA.

Simons got off to a slow start, going scoreless and missing all five of his shots in the first quarter. But like he always does, Simmons kept firing and eventually started to hit his shots. He scored 10 points in the second quarter, then added 11 more in the third.

The Blazers shot 43.5% from the field, including 35.3% from three-point range. And perhaps the most encouraging statistic was nine – like nine turnovers. The team averaged 17.2, tied for the most in the NBA.

“Obviously, the thing I’m most proud of in this game is our turnovers,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “When you don’t turn it on, teams don’t score on you in transition. I like our defense in the half court. They do a decent enough job. I thought our zone was incredible in this game tonight. We just keep fighting.”

Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 29 points. McCollum finished with 13 points and seven assists. Brandon Ingram, who fouled out with 3:32 left, had 14 points and five rebounds.

The Blazers held the Pelicans to 41.8% shooting.

“Big win,” Blazers forward Justise Winslow said. “This is a team we’re going to see four times this year. They are playing well. We were down and out people. But it’s always the next-man-up mentality. Guys stepped up and made the plays we needed when we needed them.”

Anfernie Simmons

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernie Simmons (1) drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in New Orleans. Trail Blazers won 106 to 95. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) APAp

what does it mean

Before the season started, this six-game trip looked like it would be a doozy for the Blazers (9-3). But they surprisingly won four of the first five games, even though Lillard sat three times, Nurkic and Simmons each missed two games and Grant was ruled out once. The Pelicans fall to 6-6.

“We’ve played some really good teams on this trip and we’ve accomplished every single thing so far on this trip,” Billups said. “We thought it was going to be a very challenging trip and it has been.”

Jeremy Grant distributed

Before the game, Billups said he told Grant, who played 42 minutes, that the team would need everything he had as shorthanded.

Hay donation

Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) slam dunks over New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III, right, and forward Herbert Jones, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in New Orleans. The Trail Blazers won 106-95. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) APAp

In fact, Billups asked Grant and Simmons to take some questionable shots here and there to get Lillard, Nurkic and Sharp out.

“I thought Jerami was big time all night,” Billups said.

One of Grant’s biggest moments came with 4:56 left when Lane drove over two Pelicans defenders to give the Blazers a 97-89 lead.

“For a guy who’s not aggressive, there was a lot of aggression in that dunk,” Billups said. “I think he knows that once you get down there, if you don’t tighten it up, they can block it … I though it was a great move and a better finish.”

Nasir Little

The Blazers have a thin bench with three key players out. Coach Chauncey Billups went with an eight-man rotation, and Nasir Little was a key substitute. He had 15 points and four rebounds, while hitting 6 of 11 shots. He made several key wickets in the second half.

Nasir Little

Portland Trail Blazers forward Nasir Little drives to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III (25) and guard C.J. McCollum (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. The Trail Blazers won 106-95. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) APAp

“I was really proud and happy for Nas,” Billups said.

Trendon Watford and Jabari Walker are the other players coming off the bench. The pair combined for six points and eight rebounds. Watford had three steals.

Billups said both did a good job making smart plays with the ball to help the offense become less stagnant late in the game.

“Guys we rely on just to make things happen,” Billups said. “Their numbers won’t be noticeable on the stat sheet most of the time.”

next

The Blazers conclude their six-game road trip at Dallas (6-5) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

— Aaron Fentress reports from New Orleans.

— Aaron Fentress [email protected] | @AronJFentress (Twitter), @AronJFentress (Instagram), @Aronfentress (Facebook). Subscribe to The Oregonian/OregonLive Newsletter And podcast




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