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Trail Blazers snap skid in homestand finale

  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers won for the first time in nearly two weeks Monday, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 86-74 win over the New Orleans Hornets in front of 20,520 at the Rose Garden.

    "We needed it. We needed a win desperately," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "You drop your first three games coming off of the break and you’re not playing well and you’re about to go on a seven game road trip – really important for us to get this win tonight against New Orleans and now try to build off of this."

    The third quarter of the contest proved decisive, as the Trail Blazers 8-point halftime advantage grew to 22 points behind the stingiest defense the team has played this season. Portland (19-19) held the Hornets to 10 points in the period (an opponent's season low) and ended the period on a 20-3 run to lead 70-48 headed into the final stanza.

    "Defensively, we didn’t give up easy baskets," McMillan said. "I thought offensively, we got some movement. We forced some turnovers – we didn’t convert a lot of them but we did force some turnovers off of our defense and were able to establish both ends of the floor."

    New Orleans (9-29) led 5-0 early, on a Jarret Jack three-pointer and a Chris Kaman 18-foot jumper, but the Trail Blazers responded with back-to-back triples from Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum to grab a 6-5 edge.

    The lead swapped hands as the squads traded buckets until Batum's alley-oop slam from Marcus Camby put the Trail Blazers up 12-9 with 7:32 to play in the first quarter. The Trail Blazers led the rest of the way and by as many as 26 points before settling for the final margin.

    Batum scored nine points in the first quarter and 19 points to lead all scorers in the contest. Camby grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds to help the Trail Blazers win the battle of the boards 43-37.

    Two Trail Blazers notched double-doubles in a regulation game for the first time since Feb. 2, as Felton notched 11 points and 10 assists in his return to the starting lineup, while LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

    Marco Belinelli led New Orleans with 18 points and Chris Kaman scored 10 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for the Hornets lone double-double.

    Portland now embarks on a 12-day, 7-game road trip beginning Wednesday, 5 p.m., at the Minnesota Timberwolves. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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