Lillard scores 26, Blazers hand Hornets 6th straight loss
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Damian Lillard overcame a slow start to finish with 26 points on six 3-pointers and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Charlotte 105-95 Wednesday night, handing the Hornets their sixth straight loss.
Anfernee Simons scored 19 points and Shaedon Sharpe chipped in with 17 points off the bench for Portland. The Trail Blazers shot 53.3% and rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to improve to 3-1 on their six-game road trip.
Drew Eubanks added 14 points and eight rebounds for Portland.
Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 18 points while Mason Plumlee had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Lillard, who came in averaging 29 points per game in his six previous starts this season, failed to score in the first quarter before erupting for 14 points in the second quarter.
The Trail Blazers led by five at the break, but the Hornets opened the second half with a 19-2 run helped by two 3-pointers from Rozier. At least for a moment, the home crowd was on its feet, hoping the team’s losing ways might be over.
But the momentum didn’t last long.
Lillard started to heat up and the Blazers stormed back with a 16-2 burst of their own. He had seven points during that stretch and finished the game 6 of 12 from 3-point range as Portland regained the lead and control of the game.
In what has been a major issue of late, the Hornets faded in the the fourth quarter and the Blazers capitalized by building a 13-point lead with 6:23 left on a drive and score by Josh Hart.
Blazers: Played without Jerami Grant (ankle), Jusuf Nurkic (adductor) and Keon Johnson (hip pointer). ... Simons and Lillard had four-point plays on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. ... Hart had 11 rebounds.
Hornets: LaMelo Ball (ankle), Gordon Hayward (shoulder) and Cody Martin (quad) remained out. ... Kelly Oubre finished with 16 points but was just 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. ... Bench was outscored 35-22.
Blazers: At New Orleans on Thursday.
Hornets: At Miami on Thursday and Saturday.
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