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Damian Lillard scores 50, sparks Blazers comeback vs. Pelicans

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 20 of his game-high 50 points in the fourth quarter of a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in Portland, Ore. Photo by Erik Lesser/EPA-EFE
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 20 of his game-high 50 points in the fourth quarter of a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in Portland, Ore. Photo by Erik Lesser/EPA-EFE

March 17 (UPI) -- All-Star guard Damian Lillard scored a game-high 50 points -- including 20 in the fourth quarter -- to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a dramatic comeback victory over Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Lillard's Blazers faced a 17-point deficit with about six minutes remaining in the 125-124 victory Tuesday at Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

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Lillard made 13 of 20 shots from the floor, including six of 13 3-point attempts and all 18 of his free throw attempts.

''I think with how it happened and the position we were in down the stretch, this will be one I remember,'' Lillard told reporters.

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The Pelicans held a 34-28 lead through the first 12 minutes of the game, despite Lillard's 13 points in the first quarter. The Pelicans outscored the Blazers 30-22 in the second quarter and held a 64-50 lead at halftime. Lillard scored 11 points in the third quarter and helped the Blazers outscore the Pelicans 32-31 in the frame.

The Pelicans then pushed their lead to 117-100 with 5:56 remaining.

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Lillard and the Blazers responded with a 16-0 run to cut the deficit to one point with 2:41 remaining. Lillard again cut the Blazers lead to one point with 52.2 seconds remaining, but Williamson pushed the advantage back to three points with a layup with 41.4 seconds remaining.

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Lillard then made four consecutive free throws down the stretch to give the Blazers their final lead with 1.2 seconds remaining. Williamson then missed a final attempt to give the Blazers the victory.

Lillard had 10 assists and six rebounds, in addition to his 50 points. Gary Trent Jr. chipped in 22 points off the Blazers bench. Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter and C.J. McCollum scored 10 points apiece in the victory.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 30 points in the loss. Williamson had 28 points and eight assists for the Pelicans.

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Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 20 points off the Pelicans bench. Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball had 11 points and 17 assists in the loss.

"You can only do so much to slow him [Lillard] down," Williamson told reporters. "When he is hitting those tough 3-pointers and drawing all of those fouls, it makes us be a little reluctant to play super aggressive.

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"Portland executed down the stretch and that's what got them the win."

The Blazers (23-16) host the Pelicans (17-23) in a rematch at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday in Portland.

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