Trail Blazers hang on at Charlotte
The Trail Blazers gave themselves all kinds of opportunities to lose on Saturday night at Charlotte, but the Hornets couldn't capitalize.
Portland held on for a 93-91 victory, improving to 16-13.
Charlotte fell to 10-19.
CJ McCollum had 25 points, Damian Lillard 18 and Jusuf Nurkic 14 for Portland, and Lillard added 11 assists.
Former Blazer Nicolas Batum led the Hornets with 23 points, going 9 of 17 from the floor, 5 of 9 on 3-point shots, with five assists and four rebounds.
Portland, coming off road wins at Miami and Orlando, made a late spurt and took a 39-27 lead into the second half. The Blazers shot 47.8 percent from the field; Charlotte made 32.6 percent. Lillard had 16 points, going 6 of 11, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers, two made in the final 1:41, along with his seventh assist that fueled a 3 by Shabazz Napier.
The Blazers were on top 74-67 after three quarters.
The Hornets pulled into an 87-87 tie with 4 1/2 minutes remaining, but missed various opportunities to take the lead down the stretch, including one fast-break layup blocked by Portland's Al-Farouq Aminu.
Up one, Portland lost the ball with 32 seconds left on a poor inbound pass by Evan Turner — the team's eighth turnover of the final frame and 19th of the game.
Charlotte guard Kemba Walker missed an open 15-footer, and the Blazers rebounded. The Hornets sent McCollum to the free-throw line, and he made one of two for a 93-91 lead with 16.6 seconds to go.
Charlotte missed a layup and 3, and Portland finally gained a rebound.
With 3.8 seconds left, Aminu missed both of his foul shots, but the Hornets failed on a 3 at the buzzer.
The Blazers will finish their five-game trip at 5 p.m. PT Monday at Minnesota.