NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, March 5
(All times eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (9-28) at Portland Trail Blazers (18-19), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Portland hopes a visit from the lowly Hornets can get it
back to the .500 mark on the season tonight.
The struggling Trail Blazers fell for the third consecutive time since the
All-Star break and dropped below .500 for the first time this season on
Saturday, suffering a 122-110 setback to Minnesota.
Nicolas Batum scored 29 and Gerald Wallace ended with 25 points, 14 rebounds
and five steals in defeat. Jamal Crawford scored 23 for Portland, but All-Star
LaMarcus Aldridge, who averages a team-best 21.9 points per game, had only 14.
"This team [Minnesota] shot the ball extremely well and we didn't defend,"
Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said.
The Hornets, who are kicking off a four-game road trip tonight, are coming off
a 102-84 thumping at the hands of Indiana in the Big Easy on Saturday.
The banged-up and weary Hornets were led by Jarrett Jack's 18 points and 15
from Marco Belinelli. They were coming off a 97-92 win over Dallas on Friday,
but saw no carry-over momentum in their fourth game in five nights.
They played without Trevor Ariza (illness), Carl Landry (MCL sprain), Emeka
Okafor (knee), Eric Gordon (knee) and Jason Smith (concussion).
"As much as I hate losing, our guys played hard tonight and they continue to
buy into the fact that they have to play hard," said Hornets coach Monty
Williams. "I just thought that we couldn't score."
New Orleans is 29th in the NBA at 88.4 points a game and has reached the 100-
point plateau just once in 15 games.
The Hornets have also lost three of their last four on the road and are 5-12
away from the Bayou this season, while Portland opened the campaign 11-1 in
Rip City but has gone 2-6 there since.
The Blazers, who haven't lost four in a row since a six-game hiccup from Nov.
20-Dec. 3, 2010, have already topped the Hornets in New Orleans twice this
03/05 10:40:11 ET