Hornets Dominate Trail Blazers, Enter All-Star Break On A Roll
The New Orleans Hornets (19-34) closed out the unofficial first half of the NBA season with an authoritative victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (25-28) by the score of 99-63. The Hornets enter the All-Star break with 4 wins in their last 5 games. After beginning the season 5-22, New Orleans has won 14 of 26.
New Orleans' defense was smothering from start to finish, forcing the Trail Blazers into 18 turnovers, and holding them to 32.4 percent (24 of 74) from the field.
Eric Gordon did not play after spraining his hand during a shoot around early Wednesday. Every other Hornet saw action, and all but Xavier Henry registered at least 2 points.
Rookie Anthony Davis (pictured) was sensational, registering a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. He added 3 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal for good measure.
"We just gotta play aggressive," said Davis. "Our offense was clicking, but most importantly, our defense was clicking."
36 points is the largest margin of victory this season for the Hornets, while 63 points scored was a season-low for the Blazers.
"The defensive effort tonight was tremendous," said Hornets coach Monty Williams. "We won't get carried away with the win, but our guys did a nice job of taking care of business. It was good to see Anthony being aggressive."
Davis will participate in All-Star weekend at the Rising Stars challenge Friday night. The matchup consists of first and second year players, with each team coached by Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'neal. Davis will play for team Barkley.
Also participating in All-Star weekend will be Ryan Anderson. The Hornets forward will partake in the 3-point shootout. The league leader in 3s showed off his long-range jumpers a few times Wednesday night, finishing with 14 points off the bench, including 2 triples. He has hit at least one 3 in 50 of 53 games this season.
"I've seen a lot of growth from all of our guys," said Williams. "We've got to enjoy this one, take a few days off, and get ready for the last part of the season."
The Hornets will remain at home for the All-Star break, then host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. Tip-off from the Hive is set for 7:00.