Frenchman Nicolas Batum was motivated Sunday night against his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 106-94 victory at home.
Batum finished with a game-high 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting including 5-of-10 field goals from behind the arc for his best scoring output so far this season. Big man Al Jefferson also had a good scoring night adding 29 points on 13-of-17 field goals.
Starting point guard Kemba Walker had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists while Jeremy Lamb continued to play well off the bench, finishing with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. The Hornets built an early lead thanks to a nice run to end the first quarter. That was just start of the big momentum swing for Charlotte, which continued to pour it on in the second quarter and increased the lead to 71-45 by halftime.
The Trail Blazers cut down the lead to single digits late in the final quarter but Batum and Jefferson hit crucial baskets down the stretch to stop Portland’s rally.
Damian Lillard scored 23 points but missed 16-of-25 shots and had 5 turnovers. Allen Crabbe added 17 points off the bench for Portland, which shot just 39.3 percent from the field (35-of-89 FGs) and 23.8 percent from the three-point area (5-of-21 3FGs).
After starting the season at 0-3, the Hornets have now won five of their last seven games to improve to an even 5-5- record for the season. Conversely, the Trail Blazers started the year at 4-2 but has now suffered five straight losses to drop to 4-7 for the year.