Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Damian Lillard poured in 24 points and keyed
a furious Portland comeback that lifted the Trail Blazers to a 118-112
overtime win over the slumping Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Fourteen of Lillard's scoring total came during the fourth quarter or
overtime, and the talented rookie netted eight points as part of a 23-5 run
that enabled the Blazers to overcome an 18-point deficit with five minutes
left in regulation and force extra time. The young guard added nine assists in
the improbable rally.
"I looked up and saw we were down 18, but I've watched teams while I was in
college just fall apart and give away games," Lillard said. "I wasn't
discouraged by being down, but I knew we had to start getting it turned around
LaMarcus Aldridge racked up 25 points and 13 rebounds and Nicolas Batum
finished with 17 points and 13 boards for Portland, which also received 19
points from Wesley Matthews in its second straight victory after opening its
current road trip with four losses.
The Bobcats have now dropped four in a row following a surprising 7-5 start to
the season, and failed to hold on to their seemingly comfortable late lead
despite 29 points from Ben Gordon and a 22-point, 7-assist effort out of Kemba
Charlotte dominated much of the second half in building a commanding 97-79
advantage just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter, but the Blazers got
red-hot down the stretch to place the outcome back in doubt.
After Batum began the pivotal surge with a 3-point basket, Lillard put up the
game's next seven points and brought Portland within 97-89 by knocking down a
27-foot jumper with 3:46 to go.
Walker scored on the other end to temporarily stop the momentum, but the Trail
Blazers countered with six unanswered points and closed within 99-95 on Luke
Babbitt's bucket from beyond the arc with just over two minutes left.
Portland kept on coming, with Aldridge hitting a pair of shots after a Gordon
triple that cut Charlotte's lead to 102-99 with time winding down. After Jeff
Taylor misfired on the Bobcats' next trip down the floor, Babbitt sank a 26-
footer off a Batum look with 22.8 seconds remaining to tie the score.
The Trail Blazers continued to make shots in overtime, with Batum snapping the
deadlock with an early 3-pointer and Babbitt connecting again from long range
later on for a 110-106 edge with 1:45 left.
Gordon drove the lane and scored to make it a 2-point game shortly afterward,
and the Bobcats came up with a turnover on the ensuing possession. Charlotte
would miss its next three shots, though, and the Blazers went 8-for-8 from the
foul line in crunch time to hold on.
"I thought I could have done a better of helping them with substitutions,"
Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. "I kind of point the finger at me on this
Matthews put Charlotte in a 68-66 hole after burying a deep 3-pointer with
1:19 remaining in the third quarter, but the Bobcats rode the hot hand of
Gordon during an overpowering 5-minute stretch that turned a close game into a
Gordon knocked down four baskets from beyond the arc during a 21-2 Charlotte
tear, the first giving his team the lead back just seconds after Matthews'
trey and the last putting the Bobcats up by an 85-70 count with under nine
minutes to play in regulation. A Michael Kidd-Gilchrist dunk less than a
minute afterward provided Charlotte a 17-point cushion.
The Bobcats also started out the game on fire, connecting on nine of their
first 13 field goal attempts and building a 20-6 lead midway through the first
quarter on the strength of an 11-1 run in which Walker put up five points.
Charlotte shot a scorching 72.2 percent (13-of-18) from the field in the
opening period, though its lead was trimmed down to five near the end of the
frame when Aldridge scored back-to-back baskets to ignite a 6-0 spurt that
brought the Blazers within 31-26.
Charlotte regained a double-digit differential five minutes into the second
quarter, when Taylor followed a Byron Mullens 3-pointer with a steal and layup
that made it a 41-31 game in the Bobcats' favor. Portland countered with a 7-0
burst, however, and maintained a 3-point deficit at the break as Charlotte
entered the half holding a 54-51 edge.
Gordon eclipsed the 10,000-point mark for his career during the game, having
now accumulated 10,006 in his nine NBA seasons ... Charlotte's Gerald
Henderson returned to action after missing 13 straight games with a sprained
left foot and finished with five points in 15 minutes ... Mullens compiled 12
points and 12 rebounds in the loss ... The win was Portland's sixth in its
last seven meetings with Charlotte ... The Bobcats lost for the first time in
five outings this season when leading after the first quarter.
12/04 02:56:09 ET
Copyright ??2010 Athlon Sports, Inc. Athlon Sports and the Athlon Sports logo are trademarks of Athlon Sports, Inc. | About Us