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Hornets Fall In Portland

New Orleans lost their third in a row Wednesday night in Portland. The effort was good, but the Trail Blazers were better, winning 103-96. David West had 27 for the Hornets, but it was the other power forward who was the player of the game. LaMarcus Aldridge reminded the NBA that he should be playing in the all-star game. Here is more from the AP and espn.com

 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 34 points and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the New Orleans Hornets 103-96 Wednesday night for their season-high sixth straight victory.Wesley Matthews added 24 points for Portland, which has been able to win despite injuries to three-time All-Star Brandon Roy and starting center Marcus Camby.

David West had 27 points and Willie Green added 24 for the Hornets, who have lost three straight and nine of their last 11.

The Hornets led by as many as eight in the second half, but Nicolas Batum’s dunk narrowed it to 86-85 and Aldridge’s turnaround jumper and free throw with 4:13 left gave the Blazers’ their first lead of the second half. Andre Miller added a pull-up jumper to make it 90-86.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=310216022

From that point on, Portland was in control on both ends of the floor. This loss really hurts if you are a Hornet fan. Trevor Ariza gave a gutty performance, playing through an injury to put together an impressive stat line (16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals). Ironically, it was the best Hornet who had his worst game. Chris Paul finished with only 8 points in 42 minutes of play. It’s only the fifth game this season that Paul scored in single digits. Perhaps more surprising is that CP3 only had 5 assists.

New Orleans will now take a week off for the all-star break. Chris Paul will start in the All-Star game Sunday for the Western Conference, while the rest of his teammates get some much needed rest. Center Emeka Okafor should be back after the all-star break. His minutes and defensive presence should help the Hornets snap out of their rut. After winning 10 straight games, New Orleans has lost 9 of 11. Injuries and subpar defense are the two biggest reasons why.

Portland is on the rise. LaMarcus Aldridge is the biggest all-star snub this season, and continues to prove why. Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby will return to Portland’s lineup soon as well. The Trail Blazers and Hornets both own the 5th best record in the Western Conference, and will play once more this season. New Orleans currently leads the season series 2 games to 1.

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