Holiday became a huge proponent in propelling the offense early. After being held under 15 points in four of his last five games, Holiday opened this contest with 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting performance from the field.
This effort helped the Pelicans race out to a 47-31 advantage in the second quarter; however, a multitude of second chance opportunities and live ball turnovers gave Portland a window of opportunity and they capitalized on the mistakes by New Orleans. At halftime, the score stood at 61 points apiece.
The Pelicans started the third quarter slowly, forcing Alvin Gentry to take an early timeout. Considering the nine-point third quarter outing New Orleans had in Wednesday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team could not afford a mirror of that atrocity. The Pelicans ultimately outscored the Trail Blazers 27-25 in the quarter, taking a narrow lead into the final period.
Davis caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring a total of 16 points on a highlight reel streak of energy that the Pelicans desperately needed. Cousins praised Davis’ spark and the ease he places on the team when he’s able to play at such a high level.
“Throw him the ball and get out of the way,” said Cousins. “That’s our finisher. That’s our scorer. It kinda takes the load off of everybody on the floor. He’s an easy target.”
Head Coach Alvin Gentry chose to allow guard Ian Clark to close out the fourth quarter, and the decision paid off handsomely. Clark secured an offensive rebound that essentially iced the ballgame, and Gentry was pleased with his overall effort and ability to create opportunities for others.
“I thought he was playing with a lot of energy,” said Gentry. “His cutting and coming off the dribble-handoffs really hard was opening things up for us. Not necessarily for him, but for other people. Just instinctively I went with him.”
New Orleans closed out the Trail Blazers, and with this win the Pelicans are over .500 (21-20) at the midway point of the season for the first time since 2010-11. They sit just half a game in back of these Blazers, the Nuggets and Thunder, and maintain a precarious one-game edge on the Clippers.
Davis finished with 36 points and nine rebounds. Cousins nearly notched a triple-double with 24 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. And after a hot start, Holiday ended with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who scored 23 points each. Former Pelican Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.