Trail Blazers 118, Bobcats 112, OT

After playing six games in eight days on the East coast, you

might think the travel weary Portland Trail Blazers might be ready

to run out of steam.

Hardly.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Luke Babbitt

hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers and Portland overcame an 18-point

fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 118-112 in

overtime Monday night.

The Blazers trailed 97-79 with 5:17 left in regulation, but

stormed back to tie the score and sent it into overtime on

Babbitt’s 3 with 22 seconds left.

”We showed a lot of heart and determination,” Aldridge

said.

To win their second straight game the Blazers had to find a way

to stop Ben Gordon, who set a Bobcats’ franchise record with eight

3-pointers and finished with 29 points to eclipse 10,000 for his

career.

Damian Lillard scored 24 points and Nicolas Batum added 17

points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who finish their seven-game

road trip at Indiana on Wednesday.

”We are showing that anything is possible if we crack down and

we play defense,” Aldridge said. ”Down the stretch we were

aggressive, hit the board and started trapping off the pick and

roll. We had to make Ben Gordon and (Kemba) Walker pass the

ball.”

Batum opened overtime with a big 3-pointer and the Blazers never

trailed again.

Babbitt later added a clutch 3-ball to push the lead to four and

Wesley Matthews finished off the Bobcats by hitting 4 of 4 free

throws in the final 53 seconds.

Charlotte had a chance to win at the end of regulation but Kemba

Walker’s drive and fallaway jumper from the baseline didn’t fall.

The Bobcats wanted to get the ball to Gordon for the last shot, but

he was well covered.

Walker penetrated, pump-faked and got a good shot off that

didn’t go down.

Walker finished with 22 points and seven assists for the

Bobcats. Byron Mullens added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Gordon, who is shooting 49 percent from 3-point range this

season, began to heat up late in the third quarter and gave the

Bobcats a five-point lead to open the fourth.

Charlotte carried the momentum into the final period opening

with a flurry, scoring the first 12 points with Michael

Kidd-Gilchrist adding six during the stretch and Gordon hitting two

more 3s to push the lead to 18.

That’s when Blazers coach Terry Slots told his players during a

timeout that ”a lot can happen.”

”I’ve been on the other end of this before,” Stotts said. ”It

doesn’t happen often. But it does happen. And you have to believe

that it’s going to happen for you.”

The Blazers began chipping away as Lillard scored 16 points

after halftime and Babbitt provided a huge lift off the bench.

”Luke was big,” Aldridge said. ”He played solid on defense

and he was big for us. They were doubling the block so coach wanted

to put a shooter out there. You can’t leave Luke out there open. He

opened up the floor for us.”

The Bobcats (7-9) have now lost four straight since tying last

year’s season win total.

Gordon said the game was a learning experience for a Bobcats

team that starts two rookies and is one of the league’s most

inexperienced teams.

”NBA games are long,” Gordon said. ”I’ve seen a lot of crazy

things happen and it’s never really over until it’s over. So, when

you have that type of advantage on a team, you just have to keep

your foot on their neck and try and put them away.”

The Bobcats have won seven games this season but most of those

have been close.

Coach Mike Dunlap said it looked like his team wasn’t sure what

to do when it opened a big lead. The loss also left the Bobcats’

first-year coach second-guessing himself.

”It is unfamiliar territory,” Dunlap said. ”I thought I could

have done a better job helping them, for example with substitutions

or maybe a couple of post-up plays for Byron. So I sort of point

the finger at me on that.”

Mullens came up with one of the most impressive plays of the

season in the first half with the 7-foot center driving down the

lane and dunking one-handed over Aldridge.

”I kind of surprised myself with that one,” Mullens said. ”I

didn’t know he was there until Brendan (Haywood) moved out of the

way. It was a great screen. He really sealed him. I thought it was

going to be a charge.”

NOTES: Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson returned after missing 13

games with a foot injury, but did not start. Henderson played only

15 minutes and scored five points. … Batum had his first

double-double of the season. He also had a season-high seven

assists.