The Portland Trail Blazers cruised to their fourth straight win on Friday night, obliterating the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 127-96, claiming a season-high 15 blocks in a wire-to-wire victory. CJ McCollum led the team with 30 points, while Kemba Walker paced the Hornets with 18 points of his own. Jusuf Nurkic flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and six blocks on the night.
After a pair of less-than-convincing wins against inferior opponents to begin the week, Portland left no doubt against the Hornets. Falling behind by double-digits early, Charlotte didn’t make any semblance of a rally the entire night, thanks to a dominating Blazers effort on both ends of the floor.
The Blazers offense was in fine form on Friday. They had excellent ball movement throughout the night—dishing out 31 assists—and shooters took advantage. Portland shot 56% from the field, 37% from distance and 89% from the line. Combined with a porous Hornets interior defensive, the Blazers had no problem scoring at any point in the game.
They also did an excellent job of taking care of the ball, something they have struggled with throughout the season. The Blazers only committed nine turnovers on the night, only one of which came in the first half. The lack of turnovers helped maintain a highly efficient, fluid offensive attack.
As well as the Blazers performed offensively, it was their defensive effort that stole the show. The swarming defensive attack was highlighted by a season-high 15 blocks, led by Nurkic’s six. It wasn’t just the block party that gave the Hornets fits, however. The Blazers’ active hands led to 10 steals as well, with seven different players recording at least one.
Even when the Hornets were able to get shots off, they had little success. They only shot 40% from the field, but were able to knock down 43% of their three-point attempts. All-in-all, it felt like they had to labor for every point they scored, while Portland seemed to virtually score at will, making things look effortless.
Battle of the Backcourts
Both teams are known for their high-scoring guards, but the Blazers duo of McCollum and Damian Lillard took Walker and Jeremy Lamb to school on this night. Dame and CJ combined for 50 points on 20-36 shooting, while Walker and Lamb combined for 33 points on 12-33 from the field. Walker finished well below his season average of 25 points, scoring 18 on just 5-19 shooting.
Both McCollum and Lillard got the entire fourth quarter off, and Lillard had an extremely well-rounded game. In addition to his 20 points, he had four rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocks, while only committing two turnovers.
The Other Guys
Both Al-Farouq Aminu and Jake Layman finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Zach Collins had seven points, four rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes.
Nik Stauskas stepped things up after recently falling out of the rotation. Sauce had 13 points, his highest scoring total in nearly a month, in addition to five boards and three assists.
Evan Turner had another solid game as well, going for 15 points, five rebounds and three assists of his own.
Seth Curry knocked down a couple of threes in front of his father, Dell, a TV broadcaster for the Hornets.
The Blazers travel to the Mile High City for a showdown with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday evening from the Pepsi Center.