The Portland Trail Blazers found themselves in another two-digit hole in the second half early in the third quarter on Wednesday night. And as they have done a few times this season, the team made a comeback lane to break away from the Charlotte Hornets on their way to a 105-95 victory at the Spectrum Center. It was an up and down performance from the road team, but they faltered when it was most important to improve to 8-3 on the year, while handing the Hornets their sixth straight loss in the process.
Damien Lillard finally got off to a slow start with 26 points, playing a crucial role in the comeback effort. He was joined in the double-digit scoring by teammates Anfernee Simons and Drew Eubanks and rookie Shaedon Sharpe.
The Hornets’ five players scored at least 10 points, led by 18 from Terry Roser, even though the team only fired 37% from the floor overall. Top players Rozier and Kelly Oubre Jr. and PJ Washington to only go 14-51 off the field.
For a quarterly breakdown, see the immediate summary. Here are the key points from Wednesday’s win.
woman performing a rally
The Blazers fell 12 with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter, when angry coach Chauncey Billups called the time-out after the 19-2 Hornets to start the second half. She proved to be Charlotte’s high watermark at night, and released an early version of “Dame Time.”
Lillard, who was goalless in the first quarter before dropping 14 in the second, dialed a triple of the clutch to help bring the Blazers back all the way. He assisted with two more shots, and scored or assisted in 16 of Portland’s 28 pivot points in the frame. In the process, he passed both Shawn Marion and Magic Johnson on the NBA’s top scorers list, and now ranks 83rd in league history in career points.
Damian Lillard’s Magic Johnson pass is the all-time leading scorer with a three logo distance.
– David Deckard November 10, 2022
With Yusef Nurkic and Jerami Grant out with minor injuries, Eubanks and Justis Winslow are included in the starting line-up. While Winslow had a relatively quiet night by his modern standards, Eubanks made his presence known by the leap. He scored eight of the team’s first ten points. While all of his points came in the drawing, he was effective in a variety of ways – scoring from pickup points, sprints, and second chance chances.
Additionally, Drew’s defensive presence in the paint improved throughout the match, despite a shaky start. Finally, the huge man posted a season high of 14 points (6-7 shots), eight rebounds and three blocks.
However, it wasn’t only the new freshmen who took advantage of the increased role. Rookie Jabari Walker and second man of the year Trendon Watford turned in solid minutes off the bench, while Sharpe stepped up as a scoring option, scoring 17 points off the bench in 7-10 shootings over the course of 29 minutes.
The Blazers pressed in late to snag an inferior opponent, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The Hornets, who played the entire season without superstar Lamelo Ball, made a brilliant start in attack by dominating the paint and starting the game from distance. They shot 56% from the field in the first quarter, and were at their best when coming out with a transition — both in missed shots and Blazer’s flips.
Portland’s sloppy pass was a significant factor in Charlotte’s big run to start the second half. When the Blazers finally cleared things up – limiting the chances of a quick break that repeatedly burned them on the other end – the Hornets struggled to score against a defensive group. Charlotte amassed just seven points during the final seven minutes of the third quarter, and only 16 on aggregate in the fourth minute. While Portland didn’t perform much better in the final frame, their third quarter spree was enough to lead them to the finish line.
It should also be noted that the Blazers were only 14-25 of the game’s foul streak, as the normally automatic duo of Lillard and Simons combined for seven fouls.
The Blazers continue their wild ride against CJ McCollum and the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow night. Submission of information is scheduled for 5:00 PM PT from Smoothie King Center.
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