03/28 00:25 CDT Ingram scores 29 as Pelicans rout Trail Blazers 124-90
Ingram scores 29 as Pelicans rout Trail Blazers 124-90
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) --- Brandon Ingram scored 29 points and the New Orleans
Pelicans routed the depleted Portland Trail Blazers 124-90 on Monday night for
their fifth straight victory.
CJ McCollum, who played nine seasons with the Blazers before he was traded to
the Pelicans last season, added 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 10
points and 21 rebounds, and New Orleans led by as many as 36.
The Pelicans are eighth in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Minnesota
and Golden State. The top six teams avoid the play-in tournament and are
guaranteed playoff spots.
"We're playing with energy. We play together. We enjoy basketball," Valanciunas
said. "That gives us extra motivation, playing for something. So I think
everybody is motivated. Everybody has a goal."
Keon Johnson had 20 points off the bench for the Blazers, who have lost nine of
10 and will likely miss the playoffs for the second straight season. Most of
their regular starters were out with injuries, including top scorer Damian
Lillard (right calf), Jerami Grant (bruised left quad), Jusuf Nurkic (right
knee) and Anfernee Simons (right foot).
"I wasn't concerned about the effort. I thought we played hard," coach Chauncey
Billups said. "That's a team that's on a mission. They're playing very well,
and they just kicked our butt, man."
Ingram was selected the NBA Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 31.3
points, 10 assists and 6.3 rebounds in wins over San Antonio, Charlotte and the
Los Angeles Clippers last week.
He had 18 points in the first half and the Pelicans led 58-35 at halftime.
With the game well in hand, Ingram and McCollum both went to the bench for the
"We came in and just took care of business," Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
"We know the Trail Blazers are down guys, but it was important for us to
respect our opponent."
Given the injuries and the Western Conference standings, Billups has turned his
attention to developing young players.
"Most of these guys that are out there right now, they weren't planning on
being out there this time of year," Billups said. "So they're grateful and
thankful for the opportunity. And I feel like they're doing a pretty good job
Valanciunas said the Pelicans are keeping an eye on the scoreboard and the
standings as the postseason approaches.
"It's go time now," he said. "We're watching all the games, we're watching all
the scores. And we're trying to climb up."
Pelicans: Green praised Ingram before the game: "He understands the moment. He
understands what's in front of us right now. So he's doing a great job of
setting the tone early in games, and then finding his teammates when guys are
open. When he has scoring opportunities, he's taken advantage of it."
Trail Blazers: Won the first of their four games this season against the
Pelicans, but dropped the next two. ... Nassir Little was given a technical
foul while on the bench in the first half. ... The Blazers finished with 15
assists, compared to 31 for New Orleans.
Pelicans: Visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Trail Blazers: Host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
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