Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Portland Erases 18-Point 4th Quarter Deficit, Wins 118-112 in OT

  1. Written by: erikgundersen

    The Trail Blazers (8-10) closed the fourth quarter on a 23-5 run in the final 4:56 to send the game to overtime. The Trail Blazers eventually prevailed in overtime as they improve to 4-0 in overtime games, defeating the Charlotte Bobcats  (7-9) 118-112. A Luke Babbitt (9 points, five rebounds, one block, 3-4 from three) three-pointer with 22 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. The Trail Blazers are the first team to be victorious after being down by 15-or-more points with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter since November of 2000 (Phoenix Suns over Denver Nuggets).

    The Trail Blazers made a habit of coming back in this one. The Bobcats, taking advantage of poor Portland offense and lackadaisical Portland defense, had a lead as big as 14 in the first quarter (20-6 with 6:05 left in the first). Portland made their way back behind superb play from Damian Lillard (24 points, nine assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points, 13 rebounds, five assists). Will Barton continued his productive play off the bench, scoring seven points and Joel Freeland had his third consecutive solid outing, scoring 6 points (3-4 shooting, two rebounds).

    At halftime the Trail Blazers only trailed by three after being down by as much as 14.

    The Trail Blazers made it look like they were going to take control of the game in the third quarter. A beautiful touch pass by Nic Batum (17 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) on a fast break to JJ Hickson gave Portland their first lead with 4:16 left. Portland extended the lead to four. But then, Ben Gordon, famous for getting hot quickly, did just that. Gordon scored 10 of the Bobcats' 14 points in the third quarter's final 3:20. Portland's offense did not produce points at the same rate the Bobcats were and they found themselves down by five after seemingly taking control of the game only a few minutes earlier. Gordon scored 27 of his 29 points in the second half and overtime.

    The first five minutes of the fourth quarter didn't give Rip City much hope. In fact, it decimated the hope of a comeback. Or so it seemed. From three, Ben Gordon continued to terrorize the Trail Blazers and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrest was doing as he pleased as the two powered Charlotte to a 12-0 run to start the period. Portland didn't make their first field goal of the period until the 6:46 mark of the fourth when Sasha Pavlovic made a three-pointer to cut the Bobcat lead to 15. Portland would go without a point for the next 75 seconds.

    Portland began blitzing the Bobcats pick and rolls when Babbitt entered the game for Pavlovic with 5:31 left. With Aldridge at the center position, this lineup was faster, quicker and could spread the floor.  

    A Batum three-pointer was followed by a Lillard steal that led to a fast break dunk and Bobcats' head coach Mike Dunlap, sensing the danger, called time. It was to no avail as the stops by Portland kept on coming. It was Lillard who continued the charge offensively, scoring five points out of the Charlotte timeout, forcing the Bobcats to take another timeout as their lead had dwindled to eight with 3:42 left. The Bobcats, who were cooking offensively, suddenly found themselves stymied and unable to get stops on the other end as well.

    "We had a lot of guys make big plays at both ends of the floor," Terry Stotts said.

    Aldridge and Babbitt closed regulation offensively for Portland. Aldridge rebounded a miss on a Lillard three, which was followed by a stop and a Babbitt three-pointer to force Charlotte to take another timeout. The Trail Blazers comeback attempt seemed doomed after Gordon hit his seventh three to give Charlotte a seven-point lead with 1:46 left, but the Trail Blazers kept fighting.

    "We've shown that (resiliency) from day one. Every game early in the season, we came back," Stotts said. "They are resilient, they comeback, they fight and they compete. From day one, compete was the number one word."

    Nobody showed the fight the Trail Blazers better than LaMarcus Aldridge. After Damian Lillard improbably missed two free-throws with 1:39 left, Aldridge got an offensive rebound and scored. On the ensuing possession he did the same on a Wesley Matthews miss. Aldridge scored six points, all second chance points, in the game's final 2:39. Portland would get another stop as they forced Jeffery Taylor into a bad three-pointer.  Batum snagged a Lillard miss only to find a wide open Luke Babbitt at the right elbow who rained down the game-tying three with 22 seconds left.  Babbitt made two big threes down the stretch but tonight, he made the difference at both ends.

    "It's easy to see the shots that he made but his presence on the court at both ends made a difference," Stotts said of Babbitt's play.

    "He (Batum) sucked the defense in and I was just wide open and that's a shot I'm supposed to make. That's why I'm out there," Babbitt said.

    Stotts rode the unit of Lillard, Matthews, Batum, Babbitt and Aldridge in the overtime period. Babbitt would hit another three in overtime and Wesley Matthews hit four big free throws, swollen thumb and all.

    "I've been on the other end of it," Stotts said. "Things like that occur in the NBA and you have to believe that it's going to happen for you.

    It happened for the Trail Blazers tonight. They have won their second straight road game. Again there was drama and again it all seemed like it was too much to handle. Stotts and his team never quit, something we shouldn't be surprised by anymore.

    "Just go on a run and keep playing defense and keep trying to chop it down and chop it down. We did that and we ended up back in the game," Aldridge said. "We did that and we ended up back in the game, and then once you're in the game, anything can happen.

    Portland's next game is in Indiana at 5PM on Wednesday to close their seven-game road trip before heading home. That game will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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