PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jusuf Nurkic scored 27 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, to go with 14 rebounds and six assists as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Charlotte Hornets 124-113 on Monday night.
Jerami Grant led all scorers with 32 points for Portland. Damian Lillard had 17 points and nine assists on a night when he was honored for becoming the leading scorer in Trail Blazers history.
LaMelo Ball paced the Hornets with 25 points.
Portland trailed by 14 in the second quarter but Nurkic sparked the turnaround, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists after halftime.
Nurkic hit his career-best fourth 3 with 8:55 left to give the Trail Blazers a 108-99 lead that Portland pushed as high as 15 before it was over.
Grant’s dunk with 1:42 remaining in the second quarter ignited the Blazers and their crowd, helping them close the first half on an 8-2 spurt.
Charlotte led 67-61 at halftime.
A 3-pointer by Nurkic tied it at 67, the first tie since the first quarter. A layup by Josh Hart put Portland up 72-70, prompting a Hornets timeout early in the third period.
Portland led by 13 in the third, but a pair of 3s by Ball to close the quarter cut it to 101-95 heading into the fourth.
The Hornets took advantage of eight Blazers turnovers in the first quarter to take a 34-30 lead.
It was Portland’s first home game since Lillard surpassed Clyde Drexler as the leading scorer in team history. Lillard was saluted with a standing ovation in the first quarter, as well as video messages from former teammates, coaches and current NBA players, including Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. The Trail Blazers held a ceremony for Lillard on the court after the game.
Hornets: A replay challenge by coach Steve Clifford took two points off the board for Portland with 3:36 left. … Reserve big man Nick Richards missed his first game of the season. While the Hornets are without a key piece, they’re thankful he’s not out for longer. “Right after the game, it looked like it could be longer,” Clifford said. “I think actually they feel good about that. I don’t know day to day, but I do think he’s making good progress.” … Clifford also said guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been practicing with contact, but added he didn’t know an exact date for his return.
Trail Blazers: Nurkic also had two steals and two blocks. … Justise Winslow will be sidelined for two weeks with an ankle sprain. Winslow was injured last week in a loss to Oklahoma City. “He does so much for us on both sides of the floor,” coach Chauncey Billups said. “It (stinks) to lose him for that amount of time. I think we all feel a little relieved because it could have been worse.”
Charlotte: Host the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Portland: Host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
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