"Do we play them again?" Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks
plaintively asked after the Hornets 91-80 victory Wednesday night.
Rookie J.R. Smith had 19 points and Dan Dickau added 17 for the
Hornets, who snapped a six-game losing streak with their third win
on the road.
The bad news for Cheeks is that the Blazers visit New Orleans on
"This is a step in the right direction," said Dickau, a former
Blazer and native of nearby Vancouver, Wash., who has found a niche
in New Orleans with 13 straight games in double-digit scoring.
New Orleans spoiled another fine performance by Damon
Stoudamire, who had 30 points for the Blazers. The last time the
Blazers played the Hornets, Stoudamire had a career-high and
franchise-record 54 points, but Portland lost 112-106 in New
"This type of thing happens. I'm not saying that it doesn't.
But it already happened to us one time," Stoudamire said.
The loss snapped Portland's season-high three-game winning
streak. The Blazers had won five of seven going into the game, but
they struggled against the Hornets (9-40), who have the NBA's worst
Portland was hurt at halftime when Ruben Patterson was ejected.
Nick Van Exel attempted a buzzer-beating long shot, but it bounced
off the backboard. Patterson punched it back and it flew into the
stands, and appeared to hit an usher.
Patterson wasn't around after the game, but teammate Darius
Miles said he went into the locker room not knowing he had been
The Blazers also were hampered by Van Exel's cold shooting. He
hit just one of 13 shots from the floor. Zach Randolph, the
Portland's top scorer, also had a rough night off the bench,
hitting 2-of-8 from the floor in just 19 minutes.
The Hornets, who outrebounded the Blazers 47-32, extended their
lead to as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the Blazers
closed in to 61-55 on rookie Viktor Khryapa's 3-pointer.
Stoudamire's running jumper early in the fourth got the Blazers
as close as 69-64. But Bostjan Nachbar's 3-pointer pulled the
Hornets back out to 83-70 with 6:58 to go, and the home crowd
started booing the Blazers.
"The two things we've been talking about since day one is
defending and rebounding, and those two things got us the win,"
Hornets coach Byron Scott said.
But the Blazers got no momentum from their quality win.
"We didn't play good," Stoudamire said. "As a matter of fact,
I don't think we showed up at all."
P.J. Brown added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who
were coming off a 108-91 loss at Seattle the night before.
"It was a good win," Brown said. "Everyone was communicating.
It was a good defensive game, and we got a W."<
^Notes:@ Stoudamire extended his streak of made free throws to
48, surpassing the franchise record of 42 straight set by Shareef
Abdur-Rahim earlier this season. Dickau played 20 games for the
Blazers last season before being traded to Golden State in July. He
was greeted warmly by the Rose Garden crowd when starting lineups
were announced. ... Portland center Theo Ratliff has donated
$100,000 to the UNICEF relief fund for the victims of the deadly
tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the team announced.