Blazers top struggling Hornets to stop 10-game skid

Deandre Ayton’s 24 points and Scoot Henderson’s 22 points helped the visiting Portland Trail Blazers beat the Charlotte Hornets 89-86 to snap a 10-game losing streak Wednesday night.

Jabari Walker had 14 points and Dalano Banton added 12 points for The Trail Blazers (20-56).

After Henerson missed two free throws with 18.1 seconds left, the Hornets had a chance to take the lead but Brandon Miller missed on a drive in the waning seconds. Walker made two free throws for the game’s final points.

Earlier in the day, Steve Clifford said he will be stepping down as Hornets coach at the end of the season and will transition to a front office role with the organization.

Miller’s 21 points led Charlotte (18-58), which lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Tre Mann and Aleksej Pokusevski each had 11 points.

There were six lead changes in the fourth quarter and a rash of missed shots in the final few minutes before baskets by Walker and Henderson gave Portland an 85-81 edge.

The Blazers struggled with ball handling at times, committing 16 turnovers but they outrebounded the Hornets 55-36.

The Blazers scored only five points in the final six minutes of the first half, allowing Charlotte to pull within 45-44 at the break. The Hornets failed to take full advantage of the drought, failing to hit a shot from the floor in the final 3:59 of the half.

Charlotte shot 1 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half, while Portland shot 5 of 16.

The Hornets never led in the third quarter, which ended with the Trail Blazers leading 67-66.

Clifford is finishing the second year of his second stint with the Hornets. He was previously head coach from 2013-18. His 241 victories rank as the most in franchise history. He coached the Orlando Magic for three seasons (2018-21).

Miles Bridges, who led the Hornets in scoring in the past three games, was out with a wrist contusion, joining guard Vasilije Micic (shoulder strain) on the bench. They also played their second game in a row without injured center Nick Richards (foot).

–Field Level Media