Hornets Erase Huge Halftime Deficit, But Portland Squeaks Out Victory

Graham, Rozier, Washington All Score 20+, Charlotte’s Dry Spell at Moda Center Continues
by Sam Perley

Postgame Coverage: Game Gallery | Fashion Gallery | Graham Highlights | Coach Borrego | Terry Rozier

A huge comeback win was in the works for the Charlotte Hornets before a couple of untimely breakdowns in the final minute sealed a tough 115-112 road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, Jan 13.

A trifecta of Charlotte players all finished with 20-point outings in Devonte’ Graham (27), Terry Rozier (25) and rookie PJ Washington (20). Graham added a game-high 10 assists for his 13th double-double of the season, while Washington also grabbed a game-high-tying 11 boards for his fourth NBA double-double and second in the last four outings.

After getting outscored by 17 points in the second quarter to enter halftime down 62-46, the Hornets returned the favor by outscoring the Blazers, 43-29, in the third to enter the final frame down by just two. Charlotte connected on 9-of-13 threes (one shy of the single-quarter franchise record) in the opening 12 minutes of the second half, helping set a new season high for scoring in any quarter.

Portland slowly inched ahead in the fourth, eventually taking a five-point lead with 17 seconds left on the clock. Graham hit a triple to get Charlotte back within two and after a pair of split free throws by Damian Lillard, the Hornets got one final chance to tie the score with five seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the visitors, Graham’s frantic game-tying attempt was blocked by Kent Bazemore at the buzzer.

“We keep putting ourselves in positions to win games. It’s great for our growth,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “It’s stressful, it hurts and it should hurt. This is only going to make us tougher and more resilient. Our guys are growing in these moments and I love being in them with these guys. Give our guys a ton of credit for the second half. We gave ourselves a shot to win the game.”

He added, “The locker room is frustrated and that’s competition right there. We all want to win. We all want it now, but there’s steps to winning. We’re knocking on the door right now with a ton of young guys. It’s just a lot of great growth for us. Nobody’s hanging their head. We’ll move onto the next game, but we’ll learn from this and get better.”

Willy Hernangómez also finished in double figures for the Hornets, putting up 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and four rebounds in just 16 minutes off the bench. Fellow reserve Nic Batum chipped in nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

On the other side, Lillard racked up a game-high 30 points and a team-high nine assists for the Blazers, who notched their 12th straight home win against the Hornets. CJ McCollum (27 points), Carmelo Anthony (17 points) and Anthony Tolliver (season-high 16 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter) rounded out Portland’s double-digit scorers.

Charlotte connected on 18-of-38 three-point attempts (47.4%), while the Blazers went 16-of-37 from distance (43.2%). The Hornets held the Blazers to just seven second-chance points (2-of-8 shooting) and committed just eight total turnovers leading to seven Portland points (just two points in the second half).

The four-game Western Conference road trip wraps up on Wednesday, Jan. 15, when the Hornets take on the Denver Nuggets beginning at 9 PM EST at the Pepsi Center. Catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen in on WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM or the Hornets app.

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