The Blazers beat the Hornets

Published: December 18, 2007

The Hornets were in Portland last night, and as expected, Peja Stojakovic sits out once again with that groin strain. I guess it's a good sign though that he's on this road trip.

The Hornets start with the same five as they did for Phoenix: Chris Paul, Morris Peterson, Rasual Butler, David West and Tyson Chandler.

Turns out the Blazers are without forward LaMarcus Aldridge for the fifth straight game. They start out with Steve Blake and Brandon Roy in the backcourt, Martell Webster and Channing Frye at the forwards, and Tyson's arch-nemesis Joel "Ghostface" Przybilla in the middle.

CP vs. Brandon Roy

First Quarter

For their first trick, the Hornets go right to West, who misses a short hook.

7:41 – Frye has taken 5 of Blazers' first 7 shots, because, well, I'm not sure why. The Hornets are playing great help D so far, and a 17-footer by West just tied it at 6 apiece.

7:11 – Chandler gets two offensive rebounds on one trip, and finishes the job himself the second time with a flush. That was impressive hustle.

6:20 – CP makes up for a turnover by stealing one back from Blake, and gets it up ahead to Mo-Pete for the open lay-in. 10-8 Hornets.

4:35 – Hornets run a crazy play with about six picks. Tyson sets the final one on the baseline to free up West for the J. Count it. A Hornets steal later and CP finds Rasual to finish an alley oop. Not satisfied, New Orleans plays frantic D at the other end, and a trapped Roy is forced to burn a timeout. That's what I'm talkin' bout. 16-8 Hornets.

3:15 – After an impressive jam by Webster makes it a 6-point game, CP picks up his second personal and sits for Jannero Pargo. Chandler also takes a seat, replaced by Hilton Armstrong. Portland, obviously terrified of leaving Hilton play one-on-one, goes to a zone.

2:20 – An offensive foul by Rasual gives Wright his first look of the night. West is the only starter still on the floor.

1:08 – Portland's James Jones gets free and ties it up at 16. Pargo then commits the Hornets seventh turnover of the quarter, and we haven't scored in more than three minutes.

Both teams trade free throws and old fashioned buckets and it's tied at 20 at the end of one. The Blazers seem to be having a lot more success inside since Tyson went out, and their bench has outscored ours 10-2 thus far.

Second Quarter

Hornets start as they finish, while the Blazers have Jones, Sergio Rodriguez, Travis Outlaw, Raef LaFrentz and methinks Jarrett Jack.

10:00 – A minute after getting a dunk blocked by LaFrentz, Hilton goes hard to the hoop and makes a tough layup over Przybilla. Way to bounce back, kid. He grabs a Pargo miss a trip later and puts two more on the board. Tied at 24.

8:15 and we've played the last few minutes with both Armstrong and Chandler on the floor. Weird, but it's working. Tyson cleans up a miss by Hilton to tie it at 26 and give the Hornets a 19-9 advantage on the glass.

6:33 – Mo-Pete picks up two fouls on one defensive trip, both coming against Roy. That's three on Peterson and Bobby Jackson takes his place. Still the same defensive trip, and Rasual picks up his third foul, off the ball. In comes Wright. That Blazers' offense eventually ends with a James Jones three over CP. Tied at 29.

4:23 – CP follows a three by B-Jax with his first points of the game, a 18 footer over Webster. 35-31 Hornets.

2:47 – Jackson puts Webster on the line. He'll drop both to give the Blazers a 2-point lead. Hornets have been in a zone for the past few defenses. Portland have been in a zone most of the quarter.

0:55 – West gives up an open look up top for a tougher shot, and misses, but Tyson bails him out with an offensive rebound. Ty gets it back to West who goes right to the rim and gets two. 39-35 Hornets.

An open drive and dunk along the baseline by Brandon Roy finishes the first half scoring. Hornets up 39-37 at the halfway point.

Halftime Thoughts

  • Interesting half. We couldn't really figure out that zone and Chris Paul looked mortal out there (1-of-7 FGs), yet we still lead by two. Could be much worse.
  • Tyson Chandler has been cleaning up. He's got 8 points and 10 boards at the half, both game highs. West has also put 8 on the scoreboard, but he's needed ten shots, as opposed to Tyson's four.
  • The Hornets have been doing a good job on the boards, leading that battle 26-17.
  • The Blazers have been getting their points from all over. Ten of their guys have hit the floor, and they've all scored at least once.
  • The reserves have had their moments. Armstrong has played well for the most part. Byron's letting him play. Kid's made some mistakes, but he's bouncing back from them much better than earlier in the season. Confidence is up. Something good may come from Ely's broken eyeball after all.
  • Julian has messed up a couple times on offense, dropping some passes and hesitating to shoot, but his defense has been pretty tight. I think he's got a couple of blocks already. Bobby Jackson has been effective so far, but Pargo hasn't shown much in seven minutes.
  • I'm pretty hopeful that the Hornets can pick up their scoring in the third quarter. If they throw that zone at us again, I'm thinking Chris will start getting in there and causing havoc. Rasual and Mo-Pete should stay out of foul trouble long enough to be more of a factor this half, too.

Tyson collects another one

Third Quarter

Both teams man up to start. Same as the first half, Hornets go right to West and he gets to the line. That's four fouls on Frye, and Gil McGregor tells us that "Frye got burned." Hardy har. Frye sits.

8:40 – The Blazers have settled back into that zone, and Rasual takes it in the lane and somehow gets the ball to Chandler, who finishes the best way he knows how. Give Tyson 10 points and 11 rebounds already. Damn.

7:54 – The Hornets are playing solid D, challenging pretty much every shot Portland's got, and the Blazers are finding themselves struggling to beat the 24. We lead 47-42 when CP trips himself on the break and somehow gets a timeout called as he dives after the ball along with three Blazers. Nate McMillian is not a happy man.

6:59 – Tyson's 12th rebound, again on the offensive end, is something special, but West's second 3-second violation of the game wastes the extra opportunity.

6:13 – Webster gets baseline and finds Przybilla open for the dunk. Blazers lead, 48-47. Mo-Pete cuts open along the other baseline and Chandler finds him for an easy two.Back the other way and Steve Blake drops a three, doing to CP what CP did to Steve Nash on Saturday. 10 points for Blake.

4:52 – Make it an 11-2 run for the Blazers as Roy rolls one right down the middle. 53-49 Blazers. Timeout Hornets.

3:30 – Hornets showing some zone, but the Blazers get an offensive rebound, then Outlaw zips in from the wing for an emphatic flush. After Rasual misses a three at the other end, he goes and knocks down a shooting Martell Webster in the corner. We didn't need that Rasual. Webster makes two of the three freebies to put the hosts up 5.

1:48 – Jack gets a piece of Paul's 20-footer, but West snares the rebound, then makes a couple of funky move sto sneak inside for the bucket. At the other end, Mo-Pete does his best Rasual Butler impression and knocks down Webster in the corner. This time Webster makes the triple, but misses the free throw. Peterson takes a seat, while West fires one in off the glass at the other end. He's starting to look good. 62-60 Portland.

0:30 – Webster takes it inside on Butler this time, and gets to the line again. 4th foul on Rasual. 64-60 Blazers.

Chandler blocks Outlaw at the end of the third to keep it at 64-60. Portland outscored us 27-21 in that quarter.

Fourth Quarter

11:22 – Portland go man and West gets busy. Baby hook in the lane gets him to 20 points. A minute and change later, CP ties it up with a sweet floater in the paint. 66 each.

9:08 – The Hornets manage one miserable offensive trip. They pass it around the zone, everyone stands still, and Chris ends up chucking an airball. Get in that lane and get busy, CP!

8:41 – Roy drops a three, barely getting it off before the shot clock reaches zero. 71-66 Blazers, and the crowd is getting into it.

6:26 – This zone is killing us. Byron, can you put a guy on the foul line or something? Maybe pick up the pace and try catch them before they set up in that zone. Just do something, man. Anything!

4:25 – Out of a Blazers timeout and that pesky Jack drops a corner trey. 10-0 run, and the Blazers are up 10. We haven't scored in almost six minutes, probably because we keep tossing up threes instead of trying something that might actually work. On the Hornets next trip, West gets to the line and knocks down one of two. 76-67 Blazers, and methinks this one is slipping away.

3:15 – Przybilla looks to have gotten away with basket interference on a short jumper by Roy. The basket counts, but Tyson Chandler shows them whats up at the other end, viciously stuffing home Peterson's missed triple. Give me five Tyson Chandlers please. 71-80 Blazers.

2:03 and Mo-Pete gets a tech after he misses a triple. Not smart. He continues to argue and gets ejected. He leaves with 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting. That Suns game seems so long ago. Meanwhile, James Jones makes it a ten-point game at the free throw line.

1:48 – Channing Frye nails one on the baseline to make it a 12-point game. Gil doesn't have a pun for that one, and this game is all but over.

It finishes 88-76, and let's be glad to have seen the last of the Rose Garden this season.

Morris Peterson begs to differ

Postgame Thoughts

The offense was just revolting in that one. I had to wonder if the Hornets ever discussed how to play a zone like the one Portland threw at us. Our guys reacted to that defense like it was an inside-out donkey with two heads and no feet.

OMFG!! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT! No, don't get too close! Let's just hang back and wait for it to melt or something.

Methinks Nate McMillan won the coaching battle, hands down.

As for the players, only Tyson stood out. 16 points, 19 rebounds and no misses will do that for you. Chris looked nothing like the guy who dominated Steve Nash on Saturday. West got himself 21 points and played well in stretches, but overall it wasn't one of his better nights. The bench reverted to forgettable, and Jannero Pargo is in a serious funk right now. 0-of-10 shooting in the past three games, and he was 4-of-17 in the game before that.

Gotta give credit to Portland. Nobody gave them a chance this season and now they've got a winning record. Good for them. Brandon Roy led the way with 24 points and 8 assists.

Anyways, off to Seattle the Hornets go, where they meet the Sonics on Wednesday. We really need that game.

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