Hornets, Blazers clash in the Big Easy

The New Orleans Hornets have won three of their last four and will try to keep the momentum going when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Hornets completed a three-game road trip 2-1 and defeated the Phoenix Suns before they left on their trek. New Orleans' most recent victory came in Detroit on Sunday, 105-86.

Eric Gordon sat out against the Pistons as it was the second of a back-to- back, but Robin Lopez handled the scoring. Lopez netted 23 points and 10 rebounds on 9-for-13 shooting, but his head coach was impressed with his defensive prowess.

"The way he played in the paint defensively was tremendous," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said of Lopez.

Lopez, first-overall pick Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu, the starting frontcourt for the Hornets, combined for eight blocks against a very physically strong group of bigs for the Pistons.

Wednesday is the Hornets' last game before the break, then play seven of their next nine in the Big Easy.

The Blazers are finishing a six-game road trip before the All-Star break. LaMarcus Aldridge is headed to Houston for his second appearance in the All- Star game, but things haven't gone well on this sojourn.

Portland is 1-4 after a Tuesday night loss in Miami to the defending champion Heat. The lone victory on this trek came in the opener in Minnesota and the Trail Blazers have dropped four in a row.

The Blazers hung tough with the Heat through three quarters, but Miami pulled away in the fourth to win 117-104. It was an impressive performance in defeat, especially coming after a terrible loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

"I like the way we came back after the way we played against the Orlando Magic," said head coach Terry Stotts. "I think it showed some of our resolve and some of our resiliency. It is disappointing to come up with a loss but we lost to a great team."

It was a fantastic bounceback from presumptive Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard. After a four-point performance in Orlando, Lillard scored 33 points in the loss to the Heat.

"I wasn't worried. He doesn't lose any confidence. I knew he would come back strong tonight," said Aldridge, who had 29 Tuesday.

Portland couldn't stop the Heat on Tuesday. The Blazers allowed Miami to shoot 58 percent from the field and 42 percent from the 3-point arc. During this road trip, the Blazers have surrendered 100 points or more in every game but the Timberwolves victory. Minnesota had 98 on Feb. 4.

The Blazers won this season's only a matchup with New Orleans, a 95-94 decision in Portland on Dec. 16. Portland has won five in a row in this series and is 5-2 in its last seven in New Orleans.