Trail Blazers vs Pelicans Wednesday, 02/16/11 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Rebound Over Hornets for 6th Win

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

    It was all about making adjustments for the Portland Trail Blazers (32-24) in Wednesday’s 103-96 victory over the New Orleans Hornets (33-25) at the Rose Garden.

    After being outrebounded by nine boards to trail 76-70 going into the fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers turned up the pressure in the final period to pull out a stunning come-from-behind victory for their longest streak of the season.

    “Guys started rebounding better,” said Aldridge, who led all scorers with 34 points and seven rebounds. “I think Wes took it upon himself to get some rebounds, ‘Dre got some rebounds. I think that’s what made our defense get better.”

    The Hornets posted a 23-7 advantage in second-chance points to end the third quarter and a 12-6 edge in offensive rebounds when Aldridge, who shot 13-of-18, grinded out 12 points in the fourth to complete a 24-12 run for Portland’s sixth win in a row to move up to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. 

    Wesley Matthews scored 24 points and a team-high eight rebounds to deliver New Orleans its first loss of the series, 2-1. Matthews scored back-to-back layins to pad a six-point lead with 1:34 in play.

    “It feels good to be apart of a team that’s really clicking,” said Matthews, who also connected on two 3-pointers. “We’re molding and we’re building, and we’re getting tougher and stronger and we’re winning games.”

    Andre Miller had 18 points and seven assists, while Nicolas Batum recorded 14 and five rebounds as Portland shot 52 percent from the field.

    David West led New Orleans with 27 points and five rebounds, Willie Green had 24 points and six rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 16 and a team-high nine rebounds. The Hornets shot 50 percent from the floor, but made just 3-of-13 from deep to drop their third game in a row.

    “We got some stops,” said Trail Blazer Head Coach Nate McMillan. “We were running, but the main thing is we were getting stops and got out early in our transition.”

    West gave the Hornets a three-point lead with 5:10 remaining after drilling a jumper. Batum answered on Portland’s next possession out of a timeout, leaping off the baseline to throw down a vicious dunk.  

    That's when the Trail Blazers’ defense stepped up and stopped the Hornets, who finished with a 25-11 edge in second-chance points, on their next three attempts, while Portland rallied on a 5-0 run.

    Green sank a 3-pointer to bring New Orleans back within two points, but Matthews scored five of the Trail Blazers’ last 13 points to seal the win.

    “This is why we brought Wesley here,” said McMillan. “To play in this atmosphere and to play against teams like this. To bring his attitude and his work ethics, scrappy and being able to match him with a Chris Paul or a [Willie] Green.” 

    The Hornets devoured the Trail Blazers on the glass in the second and third quarters after Ariza, Green and Jarret Jack, who had 12 points and five rebounds, outhustled Portland for a 29-20 tilt.

    Portland rocketed out to its fastest 24-16 lead in the first quarter, scoring 11 of first 15 with Aldridge going 6-of-8 for 13 points for with 5:19 in the quarter.

    West battled with 12 points and Green helped with eight in the first.

    Portland, which was 6-of-19 from long, shot 4-of-6 from 3-range in the period, with two from Matthews, who ended with 13 points for 35-26 lead. 

    “I think we’re in a great mindset,” said Aldridge. “We’ve won six in a row. Guys are playing great. Getting Camby and Brandon back after the break and I think we have a lot of momentum on our side right now.”

    The Trail Blazers will get a week of rest before going toe-to-toe with the Los Angeles Lakers at the Rose Garden on Feb. 23. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM

    “Fifth place is fine, but we have a lot of basketball left,” said Aldridge. “That’s good for now.”

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