Damian Lillard got some much-needed help Monday night in Moda Center. Actually, a lot of help.
The big news was that Portland set a franchise record by making 24 three-point field goals – and that Lillard didn’t have to make most of them. Sure, he hit six threes, but six other Trail Blazers knocked down at least one long-distance shot, as Portland connected on 24 of 46.
Robert Covington – playing perhaps his best all-around game in a Blazer uniform – made five of his seven and Carmelo Anthony hit six of his 10 attempts.
Anthony almost single-handedly kept the Hornets at bay down the stretch. Anthony had a 17-point fourth quarter, in which he hit six of his seven shots, including all five of his three-pointers.
“I liked the way Melo stuck with it — he got off to a slow start in the first half,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “But he ended up making a lot of plays in the first half and obviously his shooting in the second half really got us over the hump.
“I always like it, no matter who it is, but when Melo gets on a roll, it’s fun to watch.”
The Trail Blazers broke away from a 59-59 tie at halftime to take command of the game and snap a four-game losing streak.
Anthony’s 29 led Portland, but there were contributors up and down the boxscore.
Covington had 21 and put numbers up all over his stat line. Lillard had 23 to go with his 10 assists, Gary Trent had 17, Enes Kanter put up 11 points and 11 rebounds and Nassir Little chipped in 11 points.
The “other” Melo in the game, Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball, outscored Portland’s Melo by a point and finished the evening off with a jersey exchange.
“I try to embrace the next generation of guys and the young players,” Anthony said. “It was fun playing against him tonight. You know I’ve been watching him since he was in high school.”
It’s an honor for him to have that name for him to embrace it. It’s a blessing– it’s a respect thing for me.
Carmelo Anthony on LaMelo Ball
“Just to be able to be across the court from him tonight, getting the chance to just really see his game up close, in person, getting to see him, what type of person he is… It was only right that we did that tonight.”