Blazers, Hornets tangle in the Big Easy

Portland hopes a Western Conference-worst New Orleans team proves to be a bit of a tonic after the Blazers dropped consecutive games in Rip City.

A controversial goaltending call on All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge allowed Oklahoma City to force overtime and ultimately win Monday's game with Portland in the Rose Garden and the Blazers followed that up with a 103-96 to Houston on Wednesday.

Jamal Crawford netted 21 points to go with six assists and Gerald Wallace added 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Blazers, who have lost two straight at home since beginning the season with an 11-1 mark at the Rose Garden.

"It's tough, it's tough, that's for sure, but it's a process you have to go through unfortunately," Crawford told the Blazers' website. "We can be two different teams at times. I think that to be so good, then to come up short and really shortchange ourselves, I think that's the most surprising thing."

Portland, which has dropped three of its last four contests overall, is just 3-9 as the visitor on the year and will also face Dallas on a brief two-game road trip.

The Blazers have lost four consecutive away from home and will be trying to avoid a five-game skid as the visitor for the first time since Feb. 4-25, 2009.

As bad as the Blazers have been on the road this season, it's hard to imagine the Hornets taking advantage. New Orleans lost its seventh straight contest on Wednesday in the Big Easy, a 90-67 rout at the hands of Chicago.

The Hornets lost for the 22nd time in 24 games since staring the season 2-0 and needed a three-pointer from Marco Belinelli with 0.5 seconds left to avoid a franchise-low in points scored.

"We couldn't throw it in the ocean," said New Orleans coach Monty Williams.

In fact, the game started and ended as a laugher: Actor and comedian Will Ferrell, in town shooting a movie, handled the intros for both teams.

Among Ferrell's introductions were : "At guard, No. 1, his favorite movie is 'The Notebook' ... Derrick Rose!" For the Hornets' Emeka Okafor, Ferrell deadpanned that the big man "minored in love" at UConn.

Part of New Orleans' problems stem from injuries. High-scoring guard Eric Gordon remains out with a balky right knee, capable big Carl Landry is sidelined due to a sprained left knee and center Jason Smith is struggling with concussion-related symptoms.

Portland has won two of its last three vs. NOLA, including an 84-77 triumph in the Big Easy on Jan, 16.