Even when the Charlotte Hornets led 50-27, the Blazers knew all they had to do was start hitting their shots. When they did, they orchestrated an amazing comeback.
Damian Lillard had 29, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Steve Blake had 5, none more important than a three-pointer in the fourth quarter that gave Portland a lead they would not lose.
The Blazers came out of the locker room ice cold, with only Lillard (4-of-5 shooting) hitting their shots reliably. The poor shooting combined with five turnovers and a hot Lance Stephenson (4-of-5 shooting) and Kemba Walker (3-of-4) gave the Hornets a 35-21 lead after one.
Quarter number two started much the same way, with the Blazers staying cold from beyond the three-point line and the Hornets able to score at will, this time through Al Jefferson and Brian Roberts. Charlotte led by as many as 23, but a fast break dunk by Wesley Matthews reversed the momentum in Portland's favor. Matthews, Lillard and Aldridge started draining shots, and the Blazers cut the lead to 64-51 at halftime.
Portland kept the momentum going in the third with Lillard staying hot. He had eight in the period on 3-of-5 shooting. On defense, the Blazers held every Hornet not named Al Jefferson in check, closing the lead to 10.
The Blazers finally broke through in the fourth quarter, with a combination of strong defense against Walker and Jefferson and some timely shooting by Aldridge, Kaman, and especially Lillard. Finally, with three minutes to play, Blake was tipped a rebound off a Lillard miss and hit a three-pointer from near the top of the circle, giving Portland a 97-96 lead. Charlotte had one last chance down 102-100, but a driving layup by Gary Neal was released after the buzzer.
Chris Kaman had 12 points. Allen Crabbe had 2, starting for the injured Nicolas Batum.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
WELP. That had me extremely stressed out.
by Blazin' in Sydney
A win is a win. We won't remember this one come playoff time.
Yay, great comeback. Nice to get the win in the end. Now, might want to devote a wee bit more practice time to end-of-game situations.
by Roy Wonder
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of five NBA players with a 25+point, 14+rebound game this year (C Bosh, D Cousins, A Davis, D Howard).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) November 12, 2014
Freeland said no one said anything at the half about the team performance. Said everyone just knew to step up in the 2nd half #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 12, 2014
Asked to describe the game in 1 word, Kaman told me "Interesting" why? He said #Blazers played sloppy, should've lost, but 4th they stole it— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 12, 2014
LA on 2nd half...said D picked up, credited Joel with a "great" performance off the bench.— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 12, 2014
Lance "definitely" wants more late-game opportunities & says CHA "could have mixed it up" offensively in 4th pic.twitter.com/PE6PoGBwzh— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 12, 2014
LA said he was worried at 1st on Neal's last shot, but looked up and realized it was no good #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 12, 2014
Stotts said that 65% of the Hornets first half shots were midrange shots. But thought they could have been contested better.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 12, 2014
Lillard on Steve Blake: "He's that tough guy. He's that fighter and we get energy from that."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 12, 2014
Reporter: What was the reason for Freeland getting so many minutes? Stotts: I thought he played well.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) November 12, 2014
Stotts, why did Allen Crabbe start? "One, he's a good player. Two, I liked his length as far as defensive ability and his length at the 3."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 12, 2014
Damian Lillard gave LA a chest bump after his big rebound and bucket with 14 sec left. "I said way to man-up on 'em. That was a man's play."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 12, 2014
Terry Stotts, on #blazers comeback win over Charlotte: "Being down 23 & coming back to get a win, no matter how it happens, is pretty good"— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) November 12, 2014
Charlotte's Gary Neal, on his shot at the buzzer that was ruled no good vs. @trailblazers" "It just was a 10th of a second too late."— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) November 12, 2014
VIDEO: Damian Lillard slips the bounce pass to Robin Lopez for a nifty layup.
VIDEO: Damian Lillard throws the lead pass to Wesley Matthews for the one-handed dunk.
VIDEO: Joel Freeland grabs the offensive rebound off a Damian Lillard miss and finishes the play with a two-handed dunk.