Hornets Reach Back Half of Road Trip in Portland
By Sam Perley
The Hornets are rounding the midway point of a season-high six-game road trip and will look to balance their record at 2-2 as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
Portland swept the season series last year, winning by an average of just 4.0 points in both meetings (one of which went to overtime). The Hornets, who have yet to beat a team on the road with a winning record this season, have dropped 10 straight games at the Moda Center, having not won in the building since March 29, 2008.
Kemba Walker will be looking to rebound from a 13-point showing against the Clippers back on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. He and the team would undoubtedly welcome another big performance like he had last season in Portland, when he dropped 40 points – 23 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime – and four steals back on Feb. 8, 2018.
A tight defensive performance from Walker will also hopefully be in the cards as he’ll be paired up against reigning First-Team All-NBAer Damian Lillard. A similarly undersized, score-first point guard, Lillard is the 10th-leading scorer in the NBA (25.9 PPG), although has been in a relatively mild slump with clips of 18.8 PPG on 38.5/28.2 percent shooting over his last six appearances.
Lillard and Walker have coincidentally produced nearly identical stat lines this season and more hearty numbers are likely on the horizon tonight. With C.J. McCollum and Jeremy Lamb filling out the starting backcourts, look for the guard play to be a defining factor in this matchup as the Hornets look to grab another valuable road victory.
Game Note – Both Charlotte (14.2; T-1st) and Portland (15.0; T-4th) are ranked in the top-4 in the league in opposing points allowed off turnovers per game. The Trail Blazers sit second to last in the NBA in points scored off turnovers per game (14.2), while the Hornets are T-10th (17.6).
Classic Note – Gerald Wallace is one of three players in franchise history with multiple games of at least 30 points and 15 rebounds (Jefferson, Mourning). Both of Wallace’s said performances came against the Portland Trail Blazers, the organization he was eventually traded to in 2011. He was the last remaining player from the 2004 expansion team to leave the team.