Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard's 3-point basket with three-tenths of a second remaining gave Portland a 95-94 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night at the Rose Garden. The win came after the Hornets (5-18) rallied from a 16-point, third-quarter deficit to tie the game at 92-92 on Austin Rivers' 3-pointer with 42 seconds left. Each team missed shots before Portland got the ball back in the closing seconds. After a timeout, the Trail Blazers (11-12) inbounded to Lillard, who launched a 27-foot shot that swished through the net. The Hornets inbounded, and Lance Thomas converted a meaningless layup at the buzzer. J.J. Hickson collected 24 points and 16 rebounds for Portland, which won its third straight game. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points before leaving with an apparent ankle injury in the final minute. Nicolas Batum added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers. Ryan Anderson scored 26 points, and Greivis Vasquez contributed 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for New Orleans, which lost its seventh in a row. The Blazers' lead was 69-53 midway through the third period, but Anderson and Vasquez led a late rally that brought the Hornets even. Aldridge sank a 12-foot baseline jumper to push the Blazers in front 92-89 with 1:04 to go. After Rivers' tying 3-pointer, Lillard missed a 3-point try with 28 seconds left, and the Hornets rebounded. Following a timeout, Vasquez missed a driving layup, and the Blazers rebounded and called time with 11.3 seconds left. The Hornets had a foul to give, and Vasquez intentionally fouled Lillard with 4.2 seconds to play. NOTES: Guard Wesley Matthews returned to the Trail Blazers' starting lineup after missing the previous two games with a hip injury. However, he played just four minutes, scoring three points. ... Hornets rookie Anthony Davis played in his fourth straight game after missing 13 games with an ankle injury. The No. 1 overall draft pick came off the bench to contribute 15 points and five rebounds. "The last couple of games, he's starting to get more comfortable," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said before the game. "He's a hard worker, one of the most coachable guys I've ever been around, and highly skilled. That's a great combination." ... New Orleans center/forward Jason Smith missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury, and Williams said he could be out as long as two weeks. ... The Hornets added 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward Dominic McGuire -- waived by Toronto on Nov. 30 -- and he scored three points and grabbed four rebounds in 11 minutes. "We felt like we needed to add some toughness and defense," Williams said. "He's not a guy who will wow you with scoring, but he can defend, handle the ball and pass, and he has a toughness about him we think will help our team." ... With the Hornets slumping, Williams said he sent a stern message to his players during Sunday's shootaround: "You're in the NBA. Your job is something you're not entitled to. Somebody is always trying to get your minutes. Young guys need to understand that. Nothing's promised to anybody. You have to bring it every day."
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