Blazers pick up third straight
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CJ McCollum had 25 points, Damian Lillard flirted with a triple-double and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Charlotte Hornets 93-91 on Saturday night for their third straight road victory.
Lillard had 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Nic Batum had a season-high 23 points for the Hornets. They have dropped 10 of their last 12 games, including five straight at home.
Kemba Walker had three chances to put the Hornets ahead late, but couldn't convert.
He missed a foul line jumper with 18 seconds left with the Hornets trailing by one. McCollum made 1 of 2 free throws to push the lead to 93-31.
On the ensuing possession Walker drove the lane, but couldn't get a layup to drop — or draw the foul call — with Jusuf Nurkic defending. A scramble for the loose ball ensued, but Jeremy Lamb air-balled a 3-pointer from the left wing.
The Hornets still had a chance after Al-Farouq Aminu missed two free throws with 3 seconds left but Walker's heave from just inside the half court line hit only the backboard.
The Trail Blazers started an 18-4 run with 3:35 left in the third quarter as McCollum sparked the outburst with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. Charlotte tied it with 4 minutes remaining behind Walker and Lamb, but could never take the lead.
Trail Blazers: Held the Hornets to 32 percent shooting in the first half to build a 49-37 lead at the break. ... Shot 10 of 24 from 3-point range.
Hornets: Johnny O'Bryant did not play in the second half due to a personal reason, according to the team. ... Michael Carter-Williams missed a wide open layup at the end of the third quarter with absolutely nobody around him. ... Have attempted 784 free throws through 28 games compared to just 549 free throws attempted by Charlotte's opponents. The plus-235 free throws attempted margin for Charlotte ranks first in the NBA.
Trail Blazers: At Minnesota on Monday night.
Hornets: Host New York on Monday.