Pelicans take down slumping Blazers in winning season debut for Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday made a splash in his season debut with 21 points and seven assists in the Pelicans win. AP

NEW Orleans gave Jrue Holiday a winning season debut and added to Portland’s struggles as the Pelicans soared past the Blazers, 113-101, at the Smoothie King Center on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans as usual, sparking a 13-4 run at the end of the first half to build a big lead, as much as 20 in the fourth, and had an answer to every Blazers rally to hold on to the win. The New Orleans star hit 14-of-22 shots and eight free throws to finish with a game high 38 points with nine rebounds, six assists, four blocks and two steals.

But it was Holiday who made a splash after missing the first 12 games to care for his wife Lauren, the retired US soccer star who had brain surgery weeks after giving birth to their first child. Wearing protective goggles from a fractured orbital injury last season, Holiday had an assist and five points within the first four minutes he played. He finished with 21 points and seven assists, including a crowd-pleasing bounce pass to Davis for a slam.

Terrence Jones added 15 points off the bench while Tim Frazier chipped in 11 as the Pelicans have won three of their last five games after a 0-8 start to improve to 8-10.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the way for the Blazers with 27 and 24 points, respectively. Mason Plumlee also added a double-double with 13 markers and 12 rebounds but Portland suffered its third straight loss and fell to 7-7.

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