|Blazers seek to end 4-game skid against Hornets|
The Portland Trail Blazers are in the midst of a season-worst four-game losing streak and now face the right type of opponent to help end their slide.
Portland will look to defeat the visiting Charlotte Hornets for the seventh straight time when the teams meet Monday night. Even more crucial is that the Trail Blazers have won 12 straight home games against Charlotte, which is just 6-24 all-time when visiting Portland.
Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts sounds like a coach who doesn't want a good opportunity to slip away.
"We've lost four in a row and we need to win against Charlotte," Stotts said, emphasizing the word "need."
"So all our focus is on Charlotte."
The Hornets will arrive with a rousing amount of momentum after overcoming an eight-point deficit with 1:13 to Sunday night with a 12-3 closing dash to post a 127-126 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
"We fight until the final second. We literally do that," Hornets coach James Borrego said afterward. "We found a way. Down three starters on the road, we found a way to win."
Meanwhile, Portland is back home after going 0-3 on a road trip during which it was routed 132-100 by the Phoenix Suns before losing to the Denver Nuggets (111-106) and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Trail Blazers struggled offensively against the Lakers, and the 102-93 loss marked just the third time all season that they failed to reach the 100-point mark.
All-Star guard Damian Lillard scored 35 points in the contest, and he figures his club ought to come out roaring for its final three games -- all at home -- prior to the All-Star break.
"I feel like everybody is looking at these three games like we need to go into the break strong," Lillard said. "Because of the four-game losing streak, I think everybody's minds will be focused on taking care of home."
Lillard scored 30 or more points eight times in February and has reached at least 20 points in 21 of his past 22 games.
Carmelo Anthony topped 20 points six times during the month but also has scored 10 or fewer points in three of the past four contests.
Charlotte is 2-2 on a six-game road trip after its remarkable rally against Sacramento.
P.J. Washington scored a career-best 42 points and Malik Monk converted a three-point play with 1.4 seconds remaining to give the Hornets the unlikely win.
"At the end of the game, we want the ball in his hands," Washington said of Monk. "We know he's going to make a great play for us. He's hit game-winners before and he showed no fear on that play. He went up aggressive and we got out of here with a win."
Washington was superb by making 15 of 23 shot attempts, including 5 of 8 3-point attempts. He also grabbed nine rebounds while playing a career-high 42 minutes in a contest that Charlotte trailed by as many as 14 points.
"I just tried to be aggressive the whole game," Washington said. "I hunted out shots, I knew I could make them. And credit to my teammates for finding me the whole game. I'm just glad we came out with the victory. We were down big, and we just tried to fight our way back into it."
The Hornets knocked off the Kings despite playing without starters Gordon Hayward (hand), Cody Zeller (hip) and Devonte' Graham (kneecap).
Hayward could return after a one-game absence. So could Zeller, who has missed the past two games. Graham is expected to sit out for the sixth straight time.
--Field Level Media