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Williamson has 25 in Pelicans' 128-115 win over Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Zion Williamson hears the accolades but insists he's still getting comfortable in his new job.

He had 25 points for his seventh straight game with at least 20, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 128-115 on Friday night.

“Even though I'm a rookie and people think I'm doing good there's still so much I have to learn,” he said. “There's so much about the game I'm still learning, I feel like by year four, five I'm gonna have all that down.”

The No. 1 draft pick was playing in just his 11th game after a right knee injury sidelined him for the first half of the season. The Pelicans, who led by as many as 22 points, have won four of their last five games.

Even his teammates are impressed.

“He definitely takes us to another level,” Jrue Holiday said. “He's so hard to guard and hard to stop, so for him to be doing that 10 or 11 games in is impressive."

The Blazers, who have lost three straight, were without Damian Lillard, who is expected to miss three or more games because of a groin injury that occurred in Memphis last week. It kept Lillard out of the All-Star Game and the 3-point contest last weekend.

Lillard is averaging a career-high 29.5 points and 7.8 assists. His absence hurts the Blazers, who went into the game 3.5 games back of Memphis for eighth in the Western Conference standings.

And it’s not just Lillard: Portland had only nine players available for the game.

CJ McCollum took over as point guard and finished with 27 points and 10 assists. Hassan Whiteside added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

“Overall I thought we competed, we just didn't play well enough defensively to win,” McCollum said.

The Pelicans were among four teams, along with the Blazers, fighting for those last playoff berths with just a third of the season left. Coach Alvin Gentry said he's treating the last 27 games like a college season.

“We want to play to get into a tournament. We want a high seed. Those are the things that we’ve talked about. Obviously, we have to play good basketball,” Gentry said.

The Pelicans also won the previous three meetings this season with Portland. Earlier this month in New Orleans, Williamson had 31 points and nine rebounds in a 138-117 victory over the Blazers.

Williamson, who played just one season at Duke before going pro, went into the game against the Blazers averaging 22.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.

His streak of games with 20-plus points is the longest among NBA rookies this season. And he was the first player since Michael Jordan to have 20 or more in eight of his first 10 NBA games.

At just 19, he's the youngest player in league history with 20-plus points in seven straight games.

“He just fits in,” Gentry said about his emerging star. “It's not like we call a bunch of plays for him. Our guys do a good job in the flow of our offense trying to find him.”

Lonzo Ball’s 3-pointer put the Pelicans up 29-17 in the opening quarter. But the Blazers closed within 40-38 early in the second on Whiteside’s dunk. It was as close as Portland could get, and Williamson’s dunk gave New Orleans a 54-46 lead.

Williamson’s layup pushed the Pelicans' advantage to 65-50 and New Orleans led 73-63 going into halftime. He led all players with 19 points.

Consecutive jumpers from Carmelo Anthony and Whiteside's dunk pulled Portland within 80-75 in the third quarter. The Pelicans pulled away with a 12-0 run to head to the fourth with 102-83 lead.

Portland closed the gap a bit in the fourth when back-to-back 3-pointers from Trevor Ariza and McCollum got the Blazers within 114-105. Holiday's 3 and Ball's layup extended New Orleans' lead again and fans at the Moda Center headed for the exits.

Holiday finished with 20 points and nine assists.

TIP INS

Pelicans: The Pelicans were coming off a 123-118 loss at home to Oklahoma City before the All-Star break. Williamson had 32 points. … New Orleans missed 12 free throws in the first half. ... The Pelicans have won three straight on the road. ... Josh Hart finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

Trail Blazers: The Blazers swept the Pelicans in three games last season. With Lillard sidelined, Gary Trent Jr. got his third start for the Blazers. His dad, who played for the Blazers from 1995-98, was on hand to watch.

MEETING MELO: For much of the night, Williamson faced veteran Carmelo Anthony, whose task it was to try to stop the teenager.

“I don't know if I would say that was fun, but he's Carmelo,” Williamson said about going up against Anthony. “His resume speaks for itself. He's a crafty player. It's always tough to match up against players like that, but I love the challenge.”

UP NEXT

The Pelicans visit Golden State on Sunday.

The Trail Blazers host Detroit on Sunday.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:54 +3 Jrue Holiday made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Zion Williamson 3-0
11:32   Gary Trent Jr. missed jump shot  
11:30   Defensive rebound by Zion Williamson  
11:11   Jrue Holiday missed driving layup, blocked by Hassan Whiteside  
11:09   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
11:04   Lost ball turnover on Trevor Ariza, stolen by Lonzo Ball  
10:57 +2 Zion Williamson made driving layup, assist by Brandon Ingram 5-0
10:29 +2 CJ McCollum made jump shot, assist by Hassan Whiteside 5-2
10:05 +2 Zion Williamson made layup, assist by Brandon Ingram 7-2
9:53 +3 Gary Trent Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by CJ McCollum 7-5
9:35 +3 Brandon Ingram made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lonzo Ball 10-5
9:18 +3 Carmelo Anthony made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Gary Trent Jr. 10-8
9:09   Shooting foul on Hassan Whiteside  
9:09 +1 Zion Williamson made 1st of 2 free throws 11-8
9:09 +1 Zion Williamson made 2nd of 2 free throws 12-8
8:46 +2 Carmelo Anthony made jump shot, assist by CJ McCollum 12-10
8:32   Out of bounds turnover on Brandon Ingram  
8:09 +2 Gary Trent Jr. made floating jump shot 12-12
7:58   Out of bounds turnover on Jrue Holiday  
7:44   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:42   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
7:34   Brandon Ingram missed jump shot  
7:31   NO team rebound  
7:26 +3 Lonzo Ball made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Brandon Ingram 15-12
7:08   Carmelo Anthony missed jump shot  
7:06   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
7:01   Shooting foul on Trevor Ariza  
7:01 +1 Brandon Ingram made 1st of 3 free throws 16-12
7:01 +1 Brandon Ingram made 2nd of 3 free throws 17-12
7:01 +1 Brandon Ingram made 3rd of 3 free throws 18-12
6:50   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:47   Defensive rebound by Brandon Ingram  
6:40   Brandon Ingram missed jump shot  
6:39   Defensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
6:35 +2 Trevor Ariza made driving layup, assist by CJ McCollum 18-14
6:35   Shooting foul on Lonzo Ball  
6:35   Full timeout called  
6:35 +1 Trevor Ariza made free throw 18-15
6:11   Lost ball turnover on Jrue Holiday, stolen by Carmelo Anthony  
5:58   Carmelo Anthony missed driving layup, blocked by Lonzo Ball  
5:55   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
5:52 +2 Brandon Ingram made driving layup, assist by Lonzo Ball 20-15
5:31   CJ McCollum missed floating jump shot  
5:28   Defensive rebound by Jrue Holiday  
5:26 +2 Zion Williamson made driving layup, assist by Jrue Holiday 22-15
5:26   Shooting foul on Carmelo Anthony  
5:26   Zion Williamson missed free throw  
5:23   Defensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
5:13 +2 Hassan Whiteside made hook shot, assist by CJ McCollum 22-17
4:54 +2 Brandon Ingram made finger-roll layup 24-17
4:41   Bad pass turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Jrue Holiday  
4:39 +2 Zion Williamson made driving dunk, assist by Lonzo Ball 26-17
4:34   Turnover on Trevor Ariza  
4:30 +3 Lonzo Ball made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Brandon Ingram 29-17
4:16   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:15   Offensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
4:15   Shooting foul on Brandon Ingram  
4:15 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 1st of 2 free throws 29-18
4:15 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 2nd of 2 free throws 29-19
4:08   JJ Redick missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:04   Defensive rebound by Trevor Ariza  
3:54 +2 Carmelo Anthony made driving layup 29-21
3:41   Shooting foul on Hassan Whiteside  
3:32 +2 JJ Redick made jump shot, assist by Jaxson Hayes 31-21
3:15 +3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nassir Little 31-24
3:03 +2 Jaxson Hayes made alley-oop shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 33-24
2:55   Personal foul on Jaxson Hayes  
2:55   Full timeout called  
2:50 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot 33-26
2:36   Bad pass turnover on Jrue Holiday, stolen by Trevor Ariza  
2:27 +2 Trevor Ariza made driving dunk, assist by CJ McCollum 33-28
2:15   Personal foul on Nassir Little  
2:15 +1 Jrue Holiday made 1st of 2 free throws 34-28
2:15   Jrue Holiday missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
2:13   Defensive rebound by Caleb Swanigan  
2:03   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:58   POR team rebound  
1:50 +3 Nassir Little made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by CJ McCollum 34-31
1:39   Shooting foul on Caleb Swanigan  
1:39 +1 Jaxson Hayes made 1st of 2 free throws 35-31
1:39 +1 Jaxson Hayes made 2nd of 2 free throws 36-31
1:22 +2 Caleb Swanigan made dunk, assist by CJ McCollum 36-33
1:14   Shooting foul on Caleb Swanigan  
1:14 +1 Jrue Holiday made 1st of 2 free throws 37-33
1:14 +1 Jrue Holiday made 2nd of 2 free throws 38-33
0:58   Anfernee Simons missed driving layup  
0:56   Offensive rebound by Wenyen Gabriel  
0:54   Nassir Little missed floating jump shot  
0:51   Offensive rebound by Wenyen Gabriel  
0:43 +2 Nassir Little made driving layup 38-35
0:33   Jaxson Hayes missed driving layup  
0:32   Defensive rebound by Anfernee Simons  
0:27   Out of bounds turnover on Caleb Swanigan  
0:23 +2 JJ Redick made jump shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 40-35
0:19   Personal foul on Jrue Holiday  
0:03   Anfernee Simons missed hook shot, blocked by Jaxson Hayes  
0:01   Defensive rebound by JJ Redick  
0:00   JJ Redick missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   NO team rebound  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44   Shooting foul on Nicolo Melli  
11:44   Anfernee Simons missed 1st of 2 free throws  
11:44   POR team rebound  
11:44 +1 Anfernee Simons made 2nd of 2 free throws 40-36
11:33   Zion Williamson missed driving layup  
11:31   Defensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
11:22   Hassan Whiteside missed hook shot  
11:19   POR team rebound  
11:16   Hassan Whiteside missed floating jump shot  
11:15   Offensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
11:14 +2 Hassan Whiteside made driving dunk 40-38
10:57   JJ Redick missed jump shot  
10:54   Defensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
10:45   Gary Trent Jr. missed jump shot  
10:43   Defensive rebound by Josh Hart  
10:35 +3 Nicolo Melli made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Zion Williamson 43-38
10:13 +2 Hassan Whiteside made hook shot 43-40
10:00 +3 Nicolo Melli made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lonzo Ball 46-40
9:42   Bad pass turnover on Carmelo Anthony, stolen by Zion Williamson  
9:38 +2 Lonzo Ball made finger-roll layup, assist by Zion Williamson 48-40
9:17   Nassir Little missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:16   Defensive rebound by Lonzo Ball  
9:14   Shooting foul on Nassir Little  
9:14 +1 Josh Hart made 1st of 2 free throws 49-40
9:14 +1 Josh Hart made 2nd of 2 free throws 50-40
8:58   Hassan Whiteside missed layup  
8:56   Defensive rebound by Lonzo Ball  
8:48   Nicolo Melli missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
8:34 +2 Anfernee Simons made driving layup 50-42
8:34   Shooting foul on JJ Redick  
8:34 +1 Anfernee Simons made free throw 50-43
8:27   Personal foul on Anfernee Simons  
8:16 +2 Zion Williamson made layup, assist by Brandon Ingram 52-43
8:07 +3 Gary Trent Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Anfernee Simons 52-46
7:54   Bad pass turnover on Lonzo Ball, stolen by Anfernee Simons  
7:49   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:46   Defensive rebound by Brandon Ingram  
7:37 +2 Zion Williamson made dunk, assist by Brandon Ingram 54-46
7:37   Full timeout called  
7:26   Anfernee Simons missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:24   POR team rebound  
7:19   Hassan Whiteside missed hook shot  
7:18   Defensive rebound by Josh Hart  
7:06   Zion Williamson missed driving layup  
6:56   Defensive rebound by Trevor Ariza  
6:54   Personal foul on Nicolo Melli  
6:42   Anfernee Simons missed jump shot  
6:39   Defensive rebound by Nicolo Melli  
6:31   Traveling violation turnover on Nicolo Melli  
6:25   Offensive foul on Carmelo Anthony  
6:25   Turnover on Carmelo Anthony  
6:04   Shooting foul on Trevor Ariza  
6:04   Brandon Ingram missed 1st of 2 free throws  
6:04   NO team rebound  
6:04   Brandon Ingram missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
6:01   Defensive rebound by Trevor Ariza  
5:49   Shooting foul on Nicolo Melli  
5:49 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 1st of 2 free throws 54-47
5:49 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 2nd of 2 free throws 54-48
5:40 +3 Lonzo Ball made 3-pt. jump shot 57-48
5:23   Shooting foul on Josh Hart  
5:23 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 1st of 2 free throws 57-49
5:23 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 2nd of 2 free throws 57-50
5:13 +3 Brandon Ingram made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jrue Holiday 60-50
5:00   CJ McCollum missed floating jump shot  
4:58   Offensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
4:53   Trevor Ariza missed floating jump shot  
4:51   Defensive rebound by Josh Hart  
4:50   Shooting foul on Wenyen Gabriel  
4:50   Josh Hart missed 1st of 2 free throws  
4:50   NO team rebound  
4:50   Josh Hart missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
4:47   Offensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
4:38 +2 Derrick Favors made layup, assist by Jrue Holiday 62-50
4:28   Gary Trent Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:28   Defensive rebound by Josh Hart  
4:17   Shooting foul on Carmelo Anthony  
4:17 +1 Jrue Holiday made 1st of 2 free throws 63-50
4:17   Jrue Holiday missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
4:14   Offensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
4:06 +2 Zion Williamson made layup, assist by Josh Hart 65-50
4:06   Shooting foul on Hassan Whiteside  
4:06   Zion Williamson missed free throw  
4:04   Defensive rebound by Hassan Whiteside  
3:57   Personal foul on Jrue Holiday  
3:57 +1 CJ McCollum made 1st of 2 free throws 65-51
3:57 +1 CJ McCollum made 2nd of 2 free throws 65-52
3:43   Out of bounds turnover on Brandon Ingram  
3:29   Shooting foul on Jrue Holiday  
3:29 +1 CJ McCollum made 1st of 2 free throws 65-53
3:29 +1 CJ McCollum made 2nd of 2 free throws 65-54
3:11   Offensive foul on Brandon Ingram  
3:11   Turnover on Brandon Ingram  
3:00 +2 CJ McCollum made jump shot 65-56
2:48   Personal foul on Hassan Whiteside  
2:48   NO team rebound  
2:48   Zion Williamson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
2:48   NO team rebound  
2:48 +1 Zion Williamson made 2nd of 2 free throws 66-56
2:36   Bad pass turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Derrick Favors  
2:32 +3 JJ Redick made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lonzo Ball 69-56
2:19 +2 CJ McCollum made driving layup 69-58
2:02   Derrick Favors missed dunk, blocked by Wenyen Gabriel  
2:02   NO team rebound  
1:52   Lonzo Ball missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:52   NO team rebound  
1:53   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
1:36   Gary Trent Jr. missed jump shot  
1:33   Defensive rebound by Brandon Ingram  
1:25   Shooting foul on Wenyen Gabriel  
1:25   Zion Williamson missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:25   NO team rebound  
1:25   Zion Williamson missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:22   Defensive rebound by Caleb Swanigan  
1:11   Wenyen Gabriel missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:10   Offensive rebound by Caleb Swanigan  
1:08   Shooting foul on Derrick Favors  
1:08   Caleb Swanigan missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:08   POR team rebound  
1:08 +1 Caleb Swanigan made 2nd of 2 free throws 69-59
0:58   Shooting foul on Wenyen Gabriel  
0:58 +1 Zion Williamson made 1st of 2 free throws 70-59
0:58 +1 Zion Williamson made 2nd of 2 free throws 71-59
0:48 +2 CJ McCollum made jump shot 71-61
0:32   Derrick Favors missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:30   Offensive rebound by Zion Williamson  
0:27   Zion Williamson missed layup, blocked by Trevor Ariza  
0:26   Defensive rebound by Wenyen Gabriel  
0:24   Shooting foul on Brandon Ingram  
0:24 +1 Gary Trent Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 71-62
0:24 +1 Gary Trent Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 71-63
0:04   Zion Williamson missed driving layup  
0:04   Offensive rebound by Josh Hart  
0:04 +2 Josh Hart made dunk 73-63
0:04   Shooting foul on Wenyen Gabriel  
0:04   Josh Hart missed free throw  
0:02   Defensive rebound by Caleb Swanigan  
0:00   Anfernee Simons missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   POR team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter