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Trail Blazers v. Hornets preview: Portland heads to the Big Easy after hard times in Texas

01/16/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers road trip continues in New Orleans against the Hornets Monday, Noon, (Comcast SportsNet, 750 AM The Game), against a squad that has won just once in six games at New Orleans Arena and is 0-4 at home against Western Conference opponents.

    Portland (7-5) hopes to have learned enough from its two recent road losses to the Spurs and Rockets to take advantage of the stumbling Hornets woeful home performance this season.

    "It’s a learning experience, we have to man up and learn from it, there’s no excuse," Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford said after the loss at Houston. "We need to get off to better starts. It’s a long season and there will be bumps along the way."

    LaMarcus Aldridge recorded his second double-double of the season in Houston with 22 points, 10 rebounds and led Portland in four games against the Hornets last season by averaging 21 points and nine rebounds.

    Portland will need energy off the bench as its six-game road trip reaches the halfway point in New Orleans and the Trail Blazers got key contributions from their reserves against Houston, including Nicolas Batum's 29 points, four blocks and Craig Smith's 11 points.

    New Orleans (3-9) is led by former Portland assistant coach Monty Williams in his second year at the Hornets helm, and features former Trail Blazer Jarrett Jack starting in place of Chris Paul, traded to the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the start of the season.

    Jack posted 9.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three seasons with the Trail Blazers from 2005-08. He leads the Hornets in scoring at 15 ppg and has notched team high assists nine times while averaging 7.6 apg for the season. His season highlight to this point was a 27 point, 11 assist, five rebound, two block performance against Utah earlier this month, making him only the second Hornets player in franchise history to reach those totals in a game (the other was Baron Davis 3/1/04 at WAS).

    The Hornets frontcourt features 7-footer Chris Kaman at power forward averaging 10.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg, with Emeka Okafor at center averaging just more than eight points and rebounds per contest.

    Despite losing the season series 1-3 to the Hornets last season, (their first season series win vs. Portland since 2005-06), the Trail Blazers blocked 24 shots over the four games (6.0 bpg) while the Hornets blocked 14 Portland shots.

    Notes:

    • The road team had won five straight meetings in the series before the Hornets won in New Orleans in the first meeting last season
    on Nov. 13.
    • Chris Paul averaged a double-double with 11.5 points and 10.8 assists per game in four contests against Portland last season.
    The Trail Blazers held Paul to 36.4 percent (12-33) shooting from the field. David West averaged 19.7 points (57.9% FG) in the three
    games he appeared in against Portland last season.
    • The Hornets used a 158-135 rebounding edge in last year’s four matchups against Portland to outscore the Trail Blazers, 71-38,
    in second-chance points.
    • In four games last season, Marco Belinelli hit 12-of-17 (70.6%) attempts from 3-point range, finishing with a 12.0 scoring average
    against Portland.
    • New Orleans outshot Portland from the fi eld (49.0%-45.5%) and the 3-point line (36.4%-30.9%) in four matchups last season.
    • Monty Williams spent five seasons (2005-10) as an assistant coach for the Trail Blazers prior to becoming the Hornets’ head coach
    at the beginning of last season.
    • Portland is 4-0 all-time against the Hornets in overtime contests.

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