PORTLAND, Ore. — Rookie point guard Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers handed New Orleans its sixth straight loss with a 95-94 victory over the Hornets on Sunday night.
After trailing by as many as 16, Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer for the Hornets to tie it at 92 with 50.9 seconds left. The Blazers then absorbed a blow when LaMarcus Aldridge suddenly came up limping and headed to the locker room with what appeared to be a left ankle injury, but Lillard came through to give Portland the win.
The winning shot appeared to come at the buzzer, but a review put the fraction back on the clock. Lance Thomas made a layup for the Hornets as time ran out for the final margin.
J.J. Hickson had a season-high 24 points and added 16 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won three straight. Hickson has five straight double-doubles and 13 overall this season.
Ryan Anderson had 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, for New Orleans. Aldridge, whose condition was not immediately available, finished with 20 points before leaving the game, and Lillard had 16.
Wesley Matthews, who hit a 3-pointer to open the night for the Blazers, was making his return to the starting lineup after missing two games because of a strained left hip.
The injury put him on the bench in street clothes for the first time in his four-year NBA career. He had played in 250 straight games, second-most among active players behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
Matthews was replaced by Victor Claver less than five minutes into the game and did not return. The Blazers said there was no specific injury, he just “didn’t feel right.”
Lillard stole the show in the battle of the rookies with Anthony Davis.
Davis, the top pick in last June’s draft, if still getting his legs back after missing 11 games with a left ankle injury. In the first three games off the bench since his return, he averaged 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Hornets.
Against the Blazers he had 15 points. Before the stress reaction in his ankle, Davis was averaging 16 points and 8.3 rebounds.
The Hornets have signed forward Dominic McGuire to shore up their frontcourt in the absence of Jason Smith, who is out with a right shoulder injury.
McGuire averaged 2.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 15 minutes per game for the Toronto Raptors earlier this season, appearing in 15 games before he was waived on Nov. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward, in his sixth NBA season, has also had stints with Washington, Sacramento, Charlotte and Golden State. He’s averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 331 career games.
Smith injured his shoulder in the Hornets’ loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday and is expected to be out about two weeks.
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