Long-range barrage carries Trail Blazers
PORTLAND — The Trail Blazers made their first seven 3-pointers against Charlotte and from there it almost seemed too easy.
"Making shots is contagious," said Wesley Matthews, who had 25 points, including five of Portland's 21 3-pointers, in a 134-104 rout of the Bobcats on Thursday night.
The 21 3-pointers matched a franchise high, set in a 139-105 victory at the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 14, and made Portland the first NBA team to have two games in one season with at least 20 3-pointers.
Damian Lillard 24 points, making all six of his 3-point tries, and the Blazers finished by making 63.6 percent of their 33 attempts. The NBA record for 3-pointers in a single game is 23.
"It was a lot of fun," said Lillard, who has made at least four 3-pointers in four straight games. "Shots were falling."
With the win, Portland upped its record to 26-7 and moved back into the top spot in the Western Conference.
It was the season-high fifth-straight loss for the Bobcats, who were coming off a 112-85 loss to the Clippers the night before. Charlotte has lost six straight in Portland.
Chris Douglas-Roberts came off the bench to lead the Bobcats with a season-high 20 points. Al Jefferson added 19.
The 21 3s were the most the Bobcats had ever allowed in franchise history.
"Our team is thinking too much about offense, we have individual guys who need to build their games around their defense and they're worried about they're offense," Bobcats first-year coach Steve Clifford said. "We're not built that way. We're not going to be outscoring people. If we're not going to commit to defense and rebounding, then we're limited in how good we can be."
The Blazers were coming off a 98-94 come-from-behind victory at Oklahoma City on New Year's Eve. The win snapped a two-game losing streak, the first back-to-back losses for Portland this season.
Charlotte has been known this season for its defense. The Bobcats have held opponents to under 100 points 24 times this season, and they went into the game ranked third in the league for points allowed with an average of 93.8.
But they couldn't stop Portland, which led by as many as 32 points.
The Blazers went ahead 23-9 early after a 14-0 run that included four straight 3-pointers.
Mo Williams' 3 pushed Portland's lead to 33-13. Meyers Leonard's dunk off a dish from Williams upped the lead to 49-29 and the Blazers were ahead 70-49 at the half. Matthews led all scorers with 17 points, while Jefferson had 11 for Charlotte.
Matthews said he's just taking the shots that are there.
"I'm trying to focus on everything but shooting and it seems to be paying off for me," he said.
Lillard hit a 3-pointer that gave the Blazers an 89-64 lead midway through the third, and Charlotte was essentially out of it. Portland led 100-77 going into the fourth quarter.
"These are the games you love playing," said Williams, who had 15 points and 10 assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 10 points and 15 rebounds for his team-leading 19th double-double of the season. Blazers coach Terry Stotts sat his starters early in the fourth quarter.
"I knew about our record, I knew about the NBA record. But I didn't want to get caught up in that," Stotts said. "If we fell into it, then that's great, but I thought the guys who played in the fourth quarter played the game the right way. They were aggressive, they moved the ball. Defensively, they played hard. I think it's bad karma to go out and try to do that."
Clifford also rested most of his starters late in the game.
"I don't feel we were ready to play," Douglas-Roberts said. "They're too good not to come out and give a 100 percent effort. We kind of have to do some soul-searching and turn this thing around."