NEW ORLEANS (AP) – In a game marked by important milestones, Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers have the most to celebrate.
Lillard scored 24 points and became the second-leading scorer in the franchise's history after defeating the Portland Pelicans 122-110 by New Orleans on Friday night.
Lillard overtook LaMarcus Aldridge (12,562) in the team standings, giving him 12,584 and leaving only Clyde Drexler in front of him with 18,040.
"Going up the list with such a great organization, so many excellent players who have preceded me and back is an honor," said Lillard. "One more person to go."
C.J. McCollum added 23 points and Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood each had 17 points for the Trail Blazers, who improved to 8-3 since the All-Star break. Zach Collins scored 12 points and Jusuf Nurkic 11 points and 12 rebounds while Portland sided with New Orleans for the fifth time in a row, despite the impressive performance of two pelicans.
"Zach came out of the bench and did a great job defensively," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "Rodney did some big games in the end that were important."
Julius Randle of New Orleans scored 45 points and 11 rebounds, a career high, losing four triple-double assists. Elfrid Payton had his third consecutive triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 16 career assists.
Payton has only played 31 games in his first season with the Pelicans, following multiple injuries.
"I think I have a good idea of where my teammates love the ball for the most part," said Payton. "It's so unfortunate that I missed so many games this year, so I'm just trying to finish strong."
Frank Jackson added 16 points and Jahlil Okafor had 10 points for the Pelicans, who managed only 12 of 25 free throws.
The Pelicans led by one point at half-time, but Lillard and McCollum led the race while the Blazers posted a second half of 66 points.
"When they needed big shots," said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, "Damian and C.J. made them."
Portland took an 87-82 lead at the end of the third quarter and pushed the lead to eight early in the fourth quarter.
Payton's 3-pointer led New Orleans to 102-99 in the middle of the period, three points off the pace, but McCollum, Lillard and Hood each had a 3-point score.
New Orleans took a 37-30 lead after a quarter, but chilled in the second. The Pelicans scored only 20 points in the second quarter while the Blazers closed at 57-56 at halftime.
Blazers: The Blazers won a winning season and went to .500 on the road (17-17). … Portland, who was swept through New Orleans in a first-round playoff series last season, completed a three-game sweep of the regular-season series. … Hood has taken its first steps since its commercial acquisition in Cleveland on Feb. 4, replacing injured Maurice Harkless.
Pelicans: G Jrue Holiday (abdominal pain) and F E'Twaun Moore (four contender) each missed their fourth consecutive game and coach Alvin Gentry said it was unlikely that one of them would return this season . … Randle scored points in his career by scoring 21 in 21 in the first period.
DAVIS BIEN RESTED
The star player of the Pelicans, Anthony Davis, did not play Friday and the official reason for his absence was "the rest". New Orleans restricted Davis' minutes and prevented him from playing part of each consecutive game called for an exchange in late January. He should play against Phoenix on Saturday.
Blazers: goes to San Antonio on Saturday.
Pelicans: Phoenix hosts on Saturday.