Guards, Tolliver Lift Trail Blazers To First Home Win Of 2020
PORTLAND -- The Trail Blazers got their first win at home of 2020 with a 115-112 victory versus the Charlotte Hornets in front of a crowd of 19,111 Monday night at the Moda Center.
"I thought we played a really good half building the lead," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "I thought our offense was clicking, the ball was moving, and we were making shots. Obviously (Charlotte) got hot, I didn't think we came out with enough energy and they got hot and confident. It was all going downhill. I'm glad we kept our composure and made played when we needed to."
The Trail Blazers are now 17-24 overall and 9-10 at home this season. The win also extends their win streak versus the Hornets to six games and is their 12th consecutive victory at home versus Charlotte.
After a close first quarter, the Trail Blazers scored the first seven points of the second quarter and would eventually go on an 11-0 run to take a 34-30 lead. Portland would go on to shoot 64 percent from the field and 67 percent from three in the quarter, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 10 and CJ McCollum going for 13 in just over nine minutes.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," said McCollum. "The ball was moving, I got some easy baskets early, a couple curl floaters, a three to start the game. I just tried to stay in rhythm and stay aggressive."
Behind the play of McCollum and Anthony, and the team defense that held the Hornets to just 29 percent shooting from the field and 1-of-10 shooting from three, Portland outscored Charlotte by 17 in the quarter to take a 62-46 lead into the intermission.
But that lead wouldn't last long into the second half. The Hornets scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, all on three-pointers. The onslaught did not abate as the quarter went on, with Charlotte eventually going 9-of-13 from the three-point line on the way to scoring 43 points in the third, the most the Blazers have given up in a quarter this season, while outscoring Portland by 14.
Had it not been for Damian Lillard hitting a half court shot at the buzzer, giving him 12 points in the quarter, Portland would have entered the fourth trailing rather than holding on to a slim 91-89 advantage.
So with the game on the line, the Trail Blazers turned to... Anthony Tolliver. The 6-8 forward, who is averaging 3.4 points per game on 32 percent shooting this season, scored Portland's first points of the fourth on a tip in off a missed McCollum three-pointer with 10:03 to play. Thirty seconds later, he finished a tough layup off an assist from McCollum. A minute later, another bucket near the basket, which was followed by a Carmelo 18-footer to break the streak, though that was followed up 30 second later by a three from Tolliver.
"I’m just playing basketball," said Tolliver. "I don’t really think too much about individual accolades or stats it’s just ‘hey if I’m the one shooting it, I want to make it’. Tonight, my teammates were finding me in positions to score and I was able to capitalize on them and saw a couple shots fall and started feeling pretty good."
While he's get some assistance from his teammates, Tolliver would go on to score 16 of Portland's 24 points in the fourth quarter. His final points of the game, a three off a McCollum assist with 2:11 to play, gave the Trail Blazers a 112-109 advantage.
"I think my first shot tonight was an airball so (for) some people that will ruin their confidence but for me it’s like ‘Hey, that’s a little long the next one is going to be right in,’" said Tolliver. "That’s the mindset of a shooter and someone who believes in themselves. I never really cared about scoring or stats, I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win and tonight I was able to fill it up a little bit."
Portland held the Hornets scoreless for the next two minutes, though Devonte' Graham's three with 13.3 seconds to play gave the Hornets a chance to steal the game, especially after Lillard went split a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds to play that gave the Hornets the ball down three with plenty of time to get a shot off.
Though it wouldn't play out that way. After receiving the inbound Graham raced around the court seemingly without knowledge that they needed to score in order to keep their hopes alive. After burning most of the clock, he took a desperation three-pointer, which would be blocked by Kent Bazemore to ensure the three-point win.
Damian Lillard led all scorers with 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go with nine assists and three rebounds in 35 minutes.
CJ McCollum finished with 27 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 5-of-8 shooting from three while also handing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds in 36 minutes. Carmelo Anthony, who saved a ball from going out of bounds late in the game to earn Portland an important possession, went for 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 36 minutes.
Anthony Tolliver finished with 16 points, with all of those coming in the fourth quarter, on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 shooting from three while also grabbing 11 rebounds for the double-double in 21 minutes.
The Hornets had four players finish in double figures led by 27 points from Devonte' Graham, who also had 10 assists for the double-double.
• Portland dished out 26 assists to Charlotte’s 24. It was Portland’s fourth game this season with 26 or more assists.
• The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Hornets 47-42.
• The Trail Blazers were 42-83 (50.6%) from the field, improving to 8-1 when they shoot at least 50%.
• Portland outscored Charlotte in the paint, 42-40.
• The Hornet’s reserves outscored the Trail Blazers’ bench, 32-29.
"I told (Tolliver) in the locker room 'We don't give out game balls, but if we did, he would get it.'" -- Terry Stotts
After playing their first two home games of 2020 over the last four days, the Trail Blazers return to the road for their next three games, starting with a Wednesday night game versus the Rockets in Houston. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.