Blazers Sting Hornets in Overtime for Ninth Straight Home Win
PORTLAND – The Trail Blazers thwarted a strong comeback attempt from the Hornets to extend their home winning streak to nine games with a 109-103 overtime win before a crowd of 19,178 at Moda Center Thursday night. Portland hasn’t dropped a home game since Dec. 22 vs. Denver.
Behind a surge from Kemba Walker, the Hornets evened the game at 95 with a 20-3 run before the teams traded baskets to send the game into overtime at 97-97. But as close as Charlotte came, Portland never trailed after the game’s first basket. The Trail Blazers scored six straight points in the extra period to take a 106-100 lead, with Maurice Harkless providing the exclamation point with a put-back dunk with 37.3 seconds remaining.
“Every win is a win,” said Jusuf Nurkic. “We did a lot of great things tonight.”
Nurkic had it going early and often against the Hornets. He led the Trail Blazers with 24 points on 10-for-14 FG to go with 14 rebounds, notching his fourth 20-point, 10-rebound game of the season. Nurkic tallied 10 points (4-5 FG) and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He also matched a season high with four blocked shots.
“Going against Dwight (Howard) tonight, it was important for him to elevate his game, and I thought he did a great job impacting it on both ends of the floor," said Damian Lillard on Nurkic.
Portland’s nine-game home winning streak represents its longest string of wins at Moda Center since an equally long streak from Dec. 10, 2012-Jan. 10, 2013. On Sunday vs. Utah, the Trail Blazers will seek their first 10-game home winning streak since 2009.
The Trail Blazers opened the game with a 22-5 lead on the strength of a 16-0 run in the middle of the first quarter. The Hornets narrowed the first-half gap all the way to one, before a Meyers Leonard three-pointer sent the score to 49-45 at the break.
DAME ENTERS THE TOP FIVE
In what feels like a season of milestones for Damian Lillard, the team’s leader accomplished another impressive feat on Thursday. With his 3-pointer in the second quarter, Lillard passed Jerome Kersey for fifth place on Portland’s all-time scoring list.
In just his sixth season, Lillard sits behind only franchise pillars Clyde Drexler, LaMarcus Aldridge, Terry Porter and Cliff Robinson on the all-time list. He has moved all the way from 11 to fifth place just this season.
- CJ McCollum netted 22 points, recording his 34 game of 20+ points this season.
- Evan Turner came off the bench in a big way with 13 points on 5-7 FG in just 20 minutes.Walker, fresh off being named a replacement for the NBA All-Star Game, led all players with 40 points (13-26 FG, 6-11 3-PT), including 17 points during Charlotte’s fourth-quarter comeback and all six Hornets points in overtime.
- Nurkic tallied his 13th double-double of the season, matching his career high set last season.
- Al-Farouq Aminu reached double digits in rebounds for the 10th time this season, fourth in the last seven games. His 15 rebounds were just one shy of a season best.
- The Trail Blazers nearly doubled the Hornets in paint scoring, finishing with a 58-32 advantage.
- Portland held a 57-44 rebounding edge, and bested Charlotte in second-chance scoring, 19-5.
- The Trail Blazers have swept the Hornets in the series (2-0) for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Portland has won each of the last 10 home meetings against Charlotte.
- Charlotte began the game making just two of its first 16 field goal attempts.
“Never apologize for a win, That’s what we needed to do, and we got a big win.” - Damian Lillard
Portland heads right back out of town to play its sixth road contest in the past eight games when the Trail Blazers face the Kings for the third time this season (series is 1-1). Tipoff from Sacramento is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.