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Portland, sans Lillard, trails by as many as 25 points in first quarter, and Terry Rozier-led Charlotte wins.

COURTESY PHOTO: TRAIL BLAZERS - Carmelo Anthony had 24 points, but Charlotte led almost the entire game in beating the Trail Blazers 109-101 Sunday.The skinny: It's tough to win a game when a team falls behind by 25 points in the first quarter, as the Trail Blazers found out Sunday at Charlotte.

The Hornets topped the Blazers 109-101, a respectable score given that Charlotte led 43-18 in the first quarter after Miles Bridges' 3-pointer.

Portland (32-24) played its second game without Damian Lillard (hamstring). But, Charlotte (27-28) played without Gordon Hayward, Devonte Graham and LaMelo Ball.

Terry Rozier scored 34 points and hit seven 3-pointers for Charlotte. P.J. Washington had 23 points (five 3-pointers) and Bridges added 19.

The Hornets led by as many as 29 points.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points (with six 3-pointers) and CJ McCollum 22. The Blazers shot .396 from the floor (.278 3-pointers, 10 of 36).

The Hornets are challenging to make the playoffs in the NBA Eastern Conference, the latest team Portland plays with playoff aspirations. Only two opponents remain (Houston, Cleveland) that are legitimately out of the playoff picture.

New starter: Derrick Jones Jr. did not play (coach's decision). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson started for Portland, fresh off signing a second 10-day contract, and scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds. He was 1 of 5 from the field.

Quotable: "They were locked in. They are a scary team," Anthony said of Charlotte. "They played freely and play spaced out. They play with a lot of confidence. They play fast-paced and you have to match that pace or contain that pace."

Next up: The Blazers have lost seven consecutive games against teams that were above .500 when they played them, and 11 of the past 13 games against above .500 teams. Well, the next week includes back-to-back games with L.A. Clippers (7 p.m. Tuesday) and Denver (7 p.m. Wednesday), and then two games with Memphis (7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Sunday) — all above .500 teams.


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