Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Monday night’s road game vs. Portland Trail Blazers

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Monday’s 123-111 Hornets’ road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers that dropped Charlotte to 16-18 overall:

… The undermanned Hornets positioned themselves to make another road comeback victory early in the fourth quarter before the league’s third-oldest player Carmelo Anthony, 36, scored 17 of his team-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as Portland stopped its four-game losing streak to improve to 19-14. “My guys are busting their tails,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “There could have been some fatigue there in the third. Then Carmelo hit some 3s that kind of turned the tide.”

… Anthony came off the bench for his team-high scoring effort. Portland also got 23 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard and 21 points and 10 rebounds from Robert Covington.

… The Hornets were led by 19-year-old rookie LaMelo Ball’s 30-point, 6-rebound, 8-assist effort. Ball started March after a historic February in which his number compare favorably to a pair of current NBA All-Stars. Ball averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists in February to become only the third teenager in NBA history to average 20-6-6 in a month; The others are LeBron James and Luka Doncic.

… Terry Rozier added 20 points and six assists, Malik Monk 19 points, Caleb Martin 11 points and five rebounds and Cody Martin eight points and nine rebounds. Cody Martin replaced Jalen McDaniels as a starter from the night before, making the lineup with Ball, Rozier, P.J. Washington and Bismack Biyombo the team’s 11th different starting unit so far this season.

… Washington scored three points on one of eight overall shooting one night after a career-high 42 points in the come-from-behind victory at Sacramento.

… The Hornets again played withouth three opening night starters – guard Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella discomfort), forward Gordon Hayward (right hand contusion) and Cody Zeller (left hip contusion) – and were down to nine active players. “We’re down, we’ve got some injuries but we keep fighting,” Borrego said.

… With the first half of the season set to end after Wednesday’s game at Minnesota, the Hornets are guaranteed of having a losing record for the 16th time in the last 18 seasons. The good news is that Charlotte has had a better second half record than first half record 13 times in the last 17 seasons. “We’ve got to stay together and take care of this last one,” Rozier said of the Minnesota game. “This season right here is one for the books. Waking up every morning and getting tested twice a day, it’s kind of draining.”

… Charlotte led 33-27 after the first quarter, which marks the Hornets first lead after the opening period since Feb. 20. Charlotte dropped to 9-6 this season in games in which they lead after the first quarter.

What’s next: Charlotte concludes its six-game West Coast road trip on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Minnesota that closes the first half of the season. The second half will start with a March 11 home game against Detroit.