Blazers get late help, hold off Hornets

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Damian Lillard drained a 3-pointer within the final second as the Portland Trail Blazers held off a fourth-quarter surge by the New Orleans Hornets to take a 95-94 decision at the Rose Garden.

Lillard finished with 16 points, while J.J. Hickson poured in 24 points to go along with 16 rebounds and LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 20 points before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle for Portland, which won its third straight game.

Nicolas Batum filled the stat sheet with 11 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, five steals and five blocks in the victory. He became the first player since Jamaal Tinsley on Nov. 16, 2001, to record at least 10 assists, five steals and five blocks in a game.

Ryan Anderson paced New Orleans with 26 points and Greivis Vasquez recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 assists in the Hornets' seventh consecutive defeat.

New Orleans trailed. 75-63, heading into the fourth quarter, where Vasquez and Anderson each connected on 3-pointers during a 12-5 run to cut the Hornets deficit to 85-80 with 6:08 to play.

Vasquez later converted a layup and Anderson drilled another triple around a Luke Babbitt layup to make it a 90-87 game with a little over three minutes remaining.

After Aldridge missed a jumper two possessions later, Lance Thomas grabbed the rebound of a missed Vasquez trey and laid the ball in to get the Hornets within 90-89.

Aldridge gave the Trail Blazers back a three-point lead following a pair of missed shots by both teams before Austin Rivers drilled a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key to knot the game at 92-92 with 50.9 seconds left.

Lillard had a chance to put Portland back on top on the ensuing possession, but his shot from almost the same spot as Rivers' rimmed out.

Vasquez and Roger Mason Jr. would fail to give New Orleans its first lead of the contest at the other end and coming out of a timeout with 25.8 seconds to play, Lillard tossed an inbounds pass to Babbitt, who gave the ball right back to him and he used a screen to send up a shot from the right wing that fell through with three-tenths of a second left in the game to give the Trail Blazers the victory.

Thomas' quick layup at the buzzer accounted for the final margin.

"We bent, but we didn't break. I was pleased with that," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We could have pushed our lead a little bit more. That bit us as the game went forward."

Portland controlled the game from the start as Wesley Matthews and Lillard each connected on a 3-pointer to bookend a 10-4 game-opening run.

The Hornets responded with five straight points to get within one, but they could not take the lead and four straight free throws by Lillard and Aldridge gave the Trail Blazers back a 14-9 cushion.

New Orleans got no closer than three points for the remainder of the first quarter and trailed, 25-19, heading into the second.

After Rivers opened the second quarter with a layup, Lillard capped a 9-1 spurt with a shot from beyond the arc to open up a 34-22 advantage.

The Hornets again answered with an 8-2 push to get back within six at the midpoint of the frame, but Portland outscored New Orleans, 18-13, for the remainder of the half to carry a 54-43 lead into the break.

A Robin Lopez layup closed New Orleans' deficit to 62-53 early in the third quarter before Hickson netted seven points in a 9-0 run to give the Trail Blazers a comfortable 71-55 advantage with a little over five minutes left in the third.

Portland held a double-digit advantage for the rest of the third.

"We put ourselves in a hole in the first half with turnovers, giving them easy buckets, and we had a couple of guys who just didn't give us much tonight," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "A lot of nights we're outmatched talent- wise, but when you fight like that you give yourself a chance to win."

Game Notes

New Orleans has not won a game on the road since Nov. 26 ... Portland has won the last five meetings between the teams ... The Hornets held a 43-36 advantage on the glass and outscored Portland in the paint, 46-36.