Published March 30, 2011
| Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS – Carl Landry scored 21 points and the New Orleans Hornets jumped ahead of Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference with a 95-91 victory over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Chris Paul had 11 points and 12 assists, and Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:38 left. Willie Green added 12 points, 10 in the fourth quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Portland (43-32), which is tied with New Orleans in the standings, but has lost the season tiebreaker with the Hornets having won three of four meetings.
Andre Miller added 19 points for Portland, but committed a costly turnover while driving to the hoop with the Blazers trailing 91-88 and 13 seconds left.
Marco Belinelli hit four of five 3-point attempts and finished with 16 points for the Hornets, who have won three of four, the lone loss coming on the road against the surging Los Angeles Lakers.
The Hornets also improved to 2-1 since forward David West's season-ending left knee injury.
Gerald Wallace had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, while Patrick Mills added 13 points, hitting all three attempts from long range.
After trailing much of the game, but still as close as 70-68 after three quarters, the Hornets surged ahead in the final period thanks in large part to Green's 10-point outburst during a 16-4 run.
Green's highlights included a 3, a tough running hook across the lane and a soaring one-handed jam on a putback of Jarrett Jack's missed jumper. Jack then made a jumper that gave the Hornets their largest lead at 84-75.
Portland didn't fold, however, and tensions rose soon after when Jack and Rudy Fernandez got into a brief tussle for which they each received technical fouls with a little under 5 minutes remaining.
The Trail Blazers then trimmed their deficit to five before Paul put New Orleans back up 90-83 with a driving floater off the glass with 1:40 left.
Wallace then drew Okafor's sixth foul on a drive to the hoop and hit both free throws, and Miller added a driving layup to make it 90-87, setting up a tense final minute.
The Blazers raced to an early double-digit lead thanks to precision shooting against a Hornets team that prides itself on defense.
When Aldridge hit a jumper to make it 44-34 in the second quarter, Portland was shooting 65.5 percent (19 of 29).
New Orleans only avoided getting in a deeper hole by shooting better than 50 percent for most of the first half.
Aldridge had 14 points in the first half, and his jumper gave Portland a 46-35 lead in the middle of the second quarter. Soon after, however, New Orleans responded with a 10-0 run that included a pair of baskets by Landry.
Portland went back up 50-45 when Wallace scored inside. Soon after, however, Paul ran Wallace into a clean but hard pick by Okafor. Wallace dropped to the court, dazed, while Okafor rolled into the lane, received a pass and was brought down hard by Miller, who was called for a flagrant foul.
After Okafor made a free throw, Paul added a driving floater, pulling New Orleans to 50-48 at halftime.
Notes: The Hornets are 25-11 at home, where they play their next four games, starting on Friday night against Memphis. ... Portland, 17-22 on the road, returns home to play Oklahoma City on Friday night. ... Portland dropped to 30-3 when shooting a higher percentage from the field than its opponent. The Blazers shot 50 percent, while the Hornets shot 46.6 percent. ... Hornets F West attended the game, using a crutch to walk with his left knee injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament). ... Patrick Ewing Jr. made his Hornets debut in the second quarter but played only 1:37. ... Wallace had his career-best streak of 24 straight games with at least one steal snapped.