Portland improves to 3-1 on five-game NBA trip that ends Monday at Minnesota; Batum leads Hornets in defeat

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.

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