Lillard scored 22 points, Crabbe 20 and McCollum 17 for the Trail
Blazers (22-26), who won for the seventh time in the last nine
But it was the work at the other end of the floor that drew praise
from Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
"Our defense was solid most of the night," said Stotts after the
Blazers held Charlotte to .388 shooting from the field. "I liked our
aggressiveness on the ball."
Portland broke open a tight game by outscoring Charlotte 33-24 in
the third quarter and held off a late Hornets rally. Forward
Al-Farouq Aminu (17 points, 12 rebounds) and center Mason Plumlee
(13 points, 12 boards) each had double-doubles for the Blazers.
Forward Marvin Williams led Charlotte (22-25) with 20 points and
nine rebounds. Guard Brian Roberts came off the bench for 17 points
and forward Tyler Hansbrough had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the
Portland's perimeter defenders did a number on Charlotte guards
Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, who combined for 5-for-24 shooting.
"After the first quarter, we played a real good defensive game,"
Lillard said. "We had active hands, we helped each other out and we
cleaned up our communication. That's what allowed us to win this
The Hornets beat Portland 106-94 at Charlotte on Nov. 15 in a game
in which the Blazers trailed by 29 points early in the third
"They're a totally different team now than when we played in
Charlotte," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. "We're not going to
come in and win in a place like this, as well as they're playing,
with 16 turnovers and the number of defensive mistakes we made."
Walker scored eight points to help stake Charlotte to a 25-21 lead
after one quarter. The score was 27-21 when Portland went on a 12-0
tear to go ahead 33-27. The Blazers took a five-point lead into the
Lillard scored 10 points and Crabbe nine as Portland carried a 50-45
advantage into intermission. Walker had 12 points in the half for
Williams knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Hornets a
57-56 lead. Portland used an 11-3 run to go back on top 67-59.
Crabbe made three free throws, then a three-point play to up the
margin to 78-64. McCollum (10) and Lillard (nine) combined for 19
points in the third quarter as the Blazers went into the final
period with an 83-69 edge.
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When McCollum sank a jumper, Portland's lead was 91-71 two minutes
into the fourth quarter. The Hornets used an 18-7 run to cut the
difference to 98-89 with four minutes left. That was as close as
they would get.
Portland remained in eighth place in the Western Conference, only 2
1/2 games behind seventh-place Houston (25-24).
"We're continuing to grow on both ends of the floor," Lillard said.
"We're doing a great job of trusting each other, sharing the ball
and keeping the ball moving. And defensively, we're taking the
challenge. With our length and athleticism and youth, we can be a
tough team to play against on that end."
NOTES: G CJ McCollum missed his first six shots but finished 7 for
16 from the field. ... Charlotte was without four of its top seven
scorers: C Al Jefferson (knee), C Cody Zeller (shoulder), G Jeremy
Lin (ankle) and G Jeremy Lamb (toe). G Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made
his season debut, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds in 34
minutes. He had suffered a shoulder injury in the Hornets' preseason
opener. ... Charlotte G Nicolas Batum struggled in his first visit
to Portland as a Hornet after playing his first seven NBA seasons
with the Blazers. Batum, playing his second game back after missing
the previous three games and seven of the previous 13 with a toe
injury, scored three points on 1-for-11 shooting and had six
turnovers. "Before he got hurt, he was playing at an All-Star
level," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. ... Portland coach
Terry Stotts said he was "extremely disappointed" that G Damian
Lillard wasn't named to the West squad for the NBA All-Star Game.
"He deserved to be in it," Stotts said. "I was disappointed with
some of the selections. He's probably taking it better than I did."
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