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Trail Blazers use second-half run to put dagger in Hornets

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Brandon Roy thinks the Portland Trail Blazers are shaping up to be a pretty good team.

"I'm not going to go out on a limb and say we're going to win a championship," he said. "We have tons of room to improve. That's why I think we're a pretty good team because we're winning games and we still have room to improve."

In the latest win, the Blazers used a 17-point, second-half run to beat the New Orleans Hornets 101-86 on Friday night.

Roy, who is often cautiously optimistic, had 25 points and 10 assists. The All-Star guard has scored 20-plus points in 10 of the team's last 12 games.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers (11-6), who are off to their best start since they opened the 2000-01 season 12-6.

The Blazers also improved to 7-0 this season at the Rose Garden, their best start at home since they went 9-0 in the 1998-99 season.

"Still, we've got to keep improving," coach Nate McMillan said. "I'm really pleased with our games at home and the fan support we get but we've got to make our own noise out on the road. I'm happy with our record and where we are but there's a lot of season left and we must continue to get better."

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Hornets (9-6), who were led by Peja Stojakovic with a season-high 21 points. New Orleans was playing the second game of a back-to-back after edging the Denver Nuggets 105-101 on Thursday night.

Chris Paul, who has had triple-doubles in two of the Hornets' last three games, had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. It was New Orleans' fifth straight loss in Portland.

"We are nowhere near where we need to be," Paul said. "We have a lot of work to do, mentally, physically ... as a team. It's a long season but the only way that we're going to get in the playoffs is if we start winning games."

The Blazers led by as many as nine points in the first half, but James Posey's layup helped narrow it to 38-37 for the Hornets. New Orleans couldn't get closer and Portland led 50-48 at the break.

New Orleans pulled ahead early in the second when Stojakovic's jumper made it 56-54.

The Hornets took a 69-65 on David West's 20-foot jumper, but the Blazers went on a 17-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Rudy Fernandez, that made it 82-69.

In the midst of the run, Fernandez was fouled by Devin Brown and he stumbled before grasping his ankle in pain. There were several tense moments before Fernandez shook it off and made the foul shots, to the chants of "Rudy! Rudy!" from the Rose Garden crowd.

When he made his run-capping 3-pointer, Fernandez raised his arms and held up three fingers.

Steve Blake's 3-pointer in the final minute made it 101-84, the Blazers' largest lead of the game.

Hornets coach Byron Scott he was amazed that the game was even close for a time. He said his team lacked both energy and aggressiveness.

"It was the way that we lost, more than anything," Scott said. "I'm not disappointed with the loss. I'm disappointed with the way that we lost."

Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft who sat out all of last season after knee surgery, made his fourth start of the season and had one point and eight rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Trail Blazers, the NBA's second-youngest team behind the Golden State Warriors, were coming off a 106-68 rout of Miami at home on Wednesday night.

Game notes
Tyson Chandler returned to the starting lineup for New Orleans after missing the game against Denver because of the birth of his son. He fouled out with 2:09 left. ... The Hornets beat the Blazers 87-82 in their first meeting this season on Nov. 14 in New Orleans. ... The Blazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only two unbeaten teams at home in the NBA. The Cavs are 9-0 at home.