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Blazers get down to business against Hornets

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Charlotte entered Monday night's game against Portland with the NBA's worst record and a six-game losing streak.

The Trail Blazers made sure they didn't take anything for granted, rolling to a 122-105 win at the Rose Garden.

"This was kind of a trap game for us," said rookie Meyers Leonard, who scored a season-high 15 points off the bench and was one of seven Blazers in double figures.

The Bobcats had fallen 118-112 in overtime to Portland in the first meeting at Charlotte on Dec. 3.

"We shouldn't have beat them the last time we played them," said Portland's other first-round draft pick, Damian Lillard. "Our antennas were up. Everybody was prepared to play.

"We knew we were capable of losing this game because of the type of team they are. They play hard, they have guys who can score -- it's the NBA. You can get beat any game. We were ready to play. We needed to win the game."

LaMarcus Aldridge contributed a game-high 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots for the Trail Blazers (28-31), who shot a season-best .598 from the field and were 12 of 24 from 3-point range.

"I don't know if it was a good defensive night, but it was a good win," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "We played well, particularly offensively."

Lillard had 20 points and seven assists and Nicolas Batum collected 20 points, five assists and four rebounds in a game in which the Blazers led for the final 45 minutes.

Others scoring in double figures for Portland were Hickson with 15 points, Wesley Matthews with 14 and Eric Maynor with 10.

Ramon Sessions scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist collected 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were 1 of 10 from 3-point range.

"We just couldn't stop them from scoring," said Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson, who scored 14 points. "I felt like we scored enough points to win, but we couldn't match them with their 3s. That's a lot of points to score."

The Blazers shot at a .651 clip in the first half, including 8 for 13 on 3-point attempts, and reached a season high for points in any half in opening a 68-55 advantage at intermission.

Four Blazers were already in double figures by the break, led by J.J. Hickson with 13 points to go with six rebounds.

Charlotte stayed within range in no small part to a 23-19 rebounding advantage, including 14 off the offensive glass.

The Blazers hit 10 of their first 14 shots from the field and still led only 24-19. They were on top 31-25 after one quarter and led 41-37 when they began to get some separation, jumping in front by 15 points late in the half.

"We shot the 3 well and passed the ball well" in the first half, Stotts said. "We had good rhythm shots and were active on the offensive glass. Our production came from a lot of different areas."

NOTES: Portland has won five in a row at home and seven of its last eight meetings with Charlotte. ... the Blazers' 122 points were the most they've scored in regulation this season. They beat Orlando 125-119 in overtime on Jan. 7. ... Hickson, who was 7 of 9 from the field, has shot 50 percent or better in a franchise-record 22 straight games. ... Charlotte is 2-15 in its last 17 games. ... Sessions has gotten to the free-throw line 345 times this season, 72 more than Aldridge, Portland's most frequent foul shooter. ... The Bobcats, outrebounded 60-31 in a 119-83 loss Saturday night at Sacramento, won the battle of the boards 44-41 Monday night, grabbing 21 on the offensive glass. .. Charlotte also had the better of the points in the paint by a 60-50 count. ... Matthews, who made four 3-pointers, passed Martell Webster to move into seventh place on the franchise career list with 404 treys. ... Lillard now ranks fifth on Portland's season rookie scoring list with 1,094 points.
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