Trail Blazers Game Notes: Portland Trail Blazers (3-2) at Charlotte Hornets (4-2)

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (3-2) AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS (4-2)

Sunday, October 31, 4:00 p.m. (Pacific) • Spectrum Center

Charlotte, North Carolina

SERIES HISTORY

ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 44-17

PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 25-6

HORNETS HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 19-11

LAST PORTLAND WIN: 123-111, 3/1/21 (Por.)

LAST CHARLOTTE WIN: 109-101, 4/18/21 (Cha.)

CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Cha.)

SERIES NOTES

• Sunday's game is the first of two meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Hornets during the 2021-22 season.

LAST SEASON: Portland and Charlotte split the season series in 2020-21, 1-1.

PUTTING UP POINTS: The Hornets lead the NBA in scoring at 117.5 points per game, while the Trail Blazers rank eighth with an average of 113.6 points per game.

• In two games against the Hornets last season, Robert Covington averaged 10.5 points (66.7% FG, 62.5% 3-PT), 8.5 rebounds, 1.50 steals and 1.00 block.

• In his only game against the Hornets last season on March 1, Damian Lillard scored 23 points (8-21 FG, 6-15 3-PT, 1-2 FT) to go with four rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. Lillard has scored at least 20 points in 14 of his 16 career games against Charlotte.

• LaMelo Ball recorded 30 points (10-18 FG, 5-7 3-PT, 5-6 FT), six rebounds, eight assists, four steals and one block in his lone game against the Trail Blazers on March 1 last season.

• In two games against Portland last season, Terry Rozier averaged 27.0 points (51.2% FG, 45.5% 3-PT, 66.7% FT), 5.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 3.00 steals.

CONNECTION: Trail Blazers center Cody Zeller was drafted by Charlotte with the fourth overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. He played in 467 games (273 starts) in eight seasons with the Hornets, averaging 8.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

CONNECTION: Portland guard Dennis Smith Jr. is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and played collegiately at North Carolina State in Raleigh.

CONNECTION: Trail Blazers assistant coach Steve Hetzel spent four seasons as an assistant coach in Charlotte from 2014-18.

NEWS AND NOTES

 LEADING THE WAY: The Trail Blazers hired Chauncey Billups as the 15th head coach in franchise history on June 27, 2021. Billups is making his debut as a head coach in the 2021-22 season. He spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach for the LA Clippers, helping lead the team to a 47-25 record and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.

ON THE BOARDS: Led by Jusuf Nurkic (17 rebounds), the Trail Blazers hauled in 63 boards against the Clippers on Oct. 29. It marks the most rebounds by a team in a game so far this season.

A BLOCK AND A STEAL: CJ McCollum has recorded at least one block and one steal in every game this season. He is the first player in franchise history to have a steal and a block in each of Portland's first five games of a season.

GETTING IT DONE DEFENSIVELY: Portland has held its opponent below 100 points in each of it's last two games. The Trail Blazers last held their opponents under 100 points in consecutive games from March 27-30, 2019 (three games). Portland played 155 games between the two streaks.

3J McCOLLUM: CJ McCollum is second in the NBA in three-pointers made (22) and ranks sixth in three-pointers attempted (49). He has made at least four shots from deep in four out of five games so far this season.

BENCH BUCKETS: Anfernee Simons led Portland's bench with 17 points (6-10 FG, 5-7 3-PT) against Memphis on Oct. 27. Simons ranks 12th in the NBA in total bench points this season (63) and is Portland's fifth leading scorer (12.6 ppg).

DAME DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Damian Lillard recorded his second double-double of the season against Memphis on Oct. 27, finishing with 20 points and 10 assists in 32 minutes. Lillard ranks ninth in the league in assists per game (8.0).

CJ SCORING: CJ McCollum scored the 10,000th point of his career on Oct. 20 against the Kings. He is the eighth player in team history with 10,000 points. With his 15th point against the Grizzlies on OCt. 27, McCollum passed Jerome Kersey for sixth on the Trail Blazers all-time scoring list.

5. Cliff Robinson - 10,405 points

6. CJ McCollum - 10,092 points

7. Jerome Kersey - 10,067 points

LETTING IT FLY: The Trail Blazers attempted 50 three-pointers (made 21) against the Suns on Oct. 23. It was the fifth time in franchise history that Portland attempted at least 50 shots from deep. Portland ranks fifth in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (14.0) and 10th in attempts (39.5).

POINTS ON THE BOARD: Portland's 134-105 victory over the Suns on Oct. 23 marked the 17th time since the 2000-01 season that the Trail Blazers have scored at least 134 points in a game. Portland is 17-0 in those games.

NBA 75th ANNIVERSARY TEAM: Damian Lillard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team on Oct. 21. He joins former Trail Blazers Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Carmelo Anthony, and Lenny Wilkens on the list.

TOP 100 SCORER: With his 13th point against the Kings on Oct. 20, Damian Lillard moved past Elton Brand into the top 100 on the NBA all-time scoring list. Lillard has played the fewest games of anyone on the list (687).

97. Grant Hill - 17,137 points

98. Bob Cousy - 16, 960 points

99. Damian Lillard - 16,911 points

NEW IN TOWN: During the 2021 offseason, the Trail Blazers added Tony Snell, Dennis Smith Jr., Ben McLemore, Trendon Watford and Cody Zeller via free agency, Larry Nance Jr. via trade and Greg Brown III via the 2021 NBA draft. McLemore (53.0%), Snell (54.4%) and Zeller (58.5%) have all started over half of their career games since being drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, while Nance has started 123 of his 350 career games (35.1%).

DISRUPTIVE FRONTCOURT: Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic are two of the five NBA players that have averaged at least 1.00 steal and 1.00 block in each of the last two seasons. Covington is one of three players (A. Davis/A. Drummond) that have done so each of the past three seasons. Joining the Portland pair this season is forward Larry Nance Jr., who has averaged at least 1.00 steal in each of the last five seasons.

CONSISTENT EXCELLENCE: Damian Lillard scored 19 points (6-8 FG, 5-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT) against the Warriors in Portland's first preseason game on Oct. 4. Lillard is one of two players (L. James) who has averaged at least 25.0 points in each of the last six seasons.

RIGHT BACK AT IT: Damian Lillard (19 points, 5-7 3-PT), CJ McCollum (12 points, 2-4 3-PT) and Norman Powell (13 points, 2-5 3-PT) each played 18 minutes or less against Golden State on Oct. 4, but were back in their 2020-21 form. The trio are three of the 12 players that averaged at least 18.0 points and 2.5 three-pointers in 2020-21 while shooting better than 39.0% from the three-point-line.

BACKCOURT BUCKETS: Anfernee Simons scored 24 points (8-20 FG, 1-9 3-PT, 7-7 FT) against the Kings on Oct. 11. He has topped 24 points three times in a regular season game in his career. His career high for free throws is four (seven times). Off the bench, Dennis Smith Jr. pitched in 18 points and seven assists in 26 minutes.

MANNING THE MIDDLE: Jusuf Nurkic logged a double-double of 15 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 3-4 FT) and 10 rebounds to go with four assists against the Warriors on Oct. 11. His two three-pointers were the most he has made in a game in his career (preseason, regular season and postseason).

LAST FIVE GAMES

Game #5 - Portland 111, LA Clippers 92 — October 29, 2021, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Portland defeated the Clippers 111-92 in Portland, avenging its loss to Los Angeles at Staples Center five days earlier ... The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Clippers, 63-43, and had a 21-8 advantage in second chance points ... Damian Lillard led Portland with 25 points (9-17 FG, 5-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, six assists and one steal ... Jusuf Nurkic logged 14 points (6-14 FG, 2-4 FT), 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block ... After missing two games, Norman Powell returned to the starting lineup and recorded 12 points, three rebounds, one assist and one block ... CJ McCollum scored 14 points while adding one rebound, one assist, one steal and two blocks ... Cody Zeller paced Portland's bench with nine points and seven rebounds ... Paul George led the Clippers with a season-high 42 points (15-24 FG, 6-9 3-PT, 6-9 FT) to go with eight rebounds and two assists.

Game #4 - Portland 116, Memphis 96 — October 27, 2021, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

The Trail Blazers trailed Memphis by six at halftime before outscoring the Grizzlies in the third quarter, 36-20, to catalyse a 116-96 victory ... CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 25 points (8-21 FG, 4-9 3-PT, 5-6 FT) to go with six rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block ... Damian Lillard had a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists in 32 minutes ... Anfernee Simons poured in 14 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting (4-5 3-PT) before finishing with 17 points, three rebounds and two assists ... Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes ... Cody Zeller chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench while Larry Nance Jr. added eight points and five boards ... The Grizzlies were led by Desmond Bane's 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (4-7 3-PT) ... Ja Morant had 17 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists for Memphis.

Game #3 - LA Clippers 116, Portland 86 — October 25, 2021, STAPLES Center, Los Angeles

The Trail Blazers lost their first road game of the season at the hands of the Clippers, 116-86, at STAPLES Center ... Portland committed 30 turnovers while the Clippers recorded assists on 37 of their 44 field goals ... CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 20 points (7-16 FG, 4-11 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block ... Starting in place of an injured Normal Powell, Nassir Little had 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-4 3-PT), four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks in 32 minutes ... Damian Lillard had 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes ... Anfernee Simons led the Portland reserves with 12 points (5-13 FG, 1-6 3-PT, 1-1 FT), four rebounds and one assist ... The Clippers were led by 23 points from Luke Kennard on 8-of-10 shooting (6-7 3-PT, 1-1 FT) ... Reggie Jackson scored 18 points (6-20 FG, 3-15 3-PT, 3-4 FT) ... Paul George had 16 points (6-16 FG, 2-8 3-PT, 2-2 FT), five assists, a career-high eight steals and one block in 27 minutes.

Game #2 - Portland 134, Phoenix 105 — October 23, 2021, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

The Trail Blazers earned their first win of the season by defeating the Suns at Moda Center, 134-105 ... The victory marked the first win as a head coach for Chauncey Billups ... The Trail Blazers connected on 21 of their 50 three-point attempts ... CJ McCollum had a game-high 28 points (10- 29 FG, 6-11 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with three rebounds, one assist and three blocks ... Damian Lillard added 19 points and eight assists ... Anfernee Simons scored 18 points off the bench on 7-of-14 shooting (4-8 3-PT) to go with three rebounds and one assist ... Norman Powell had 16 points (6-8 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT) and two rebounds in 12 first-half minutes before exiting the game with a left knee injury ... Jusuf Nurkic had nine points, 12 rebounds and three assists ... Devin Booker paced the Suns with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes.

Game #1 - Sacramento 124, Portland 121 — October 20, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers lost their season-opener to the Kings, 124-121, at Moda Center ... Portland trailed by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter before narrowing the gap to one point with 11.1 seconds remaining in the game ... The Trail Blazers outrebounded Sacramento, 49-43, and outscored the Kings in the paint, 58-46 ... CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 34 points (14-24 FG, 6-11 3-PT) to go with six rebounds, five assists and three steals ... McCollum scored the 10,000th point of his career with a three-pointer at the 9:27 mark of the fourth quarter ... Damian Lillard had 20 points (8-24 FG, 0-9 3-PT, 4-5 FT), six rebounds and 11 assists in 40 minutes ... With his 13th point (5:34 3rd quarter), Lillard moved past Elton Brand for 100th on the all-time NBA scoring list ... Harrison Barnes led the Kings with a career-high 36 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists.

INJURY NOTES

For the Trail Blazers, Tony Snell (right foot; sprain) is probable. If he plays, it would be his Trail Blazers debut.

As for the Hornets, Terry Rozier (right ankle sprain) is probable. Vernon Carey Jr. (G League - on assignment), Arnoldas Kulboka (G League - two-way), Scottie Lewis (G League - two-way), and JT Thor (G League - on assignment) are out.

BROADCAST NOTES

Friday’s game can be seen locally on ROOT Sports Plus with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. ROOT SPORTS Plus is free for all ROOT SPORTS subscribers, varying by provider. Visit trailblazers.com/watch for more information. On the radio side, Travis Demers, Michael Holton and Jay Allen will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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