Blazing Saddles: Portland rolls into Charlotte

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The NBA's hottest team will face one of the coldest when the Portland Trail Blazers visit Time Warner Cable Arena to take on the Charlotte Hornets.

The Blazers have won eight straight and haven't lost since Nov. 8 on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Hornets are in the midst of a six-game slide, which is only topped by the futility of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Portland made it eight straight against those same Sixers on Monday night with a 114-104 victory. It was the first time the Blazers allowed 100 points to an opponent in four games.

The Sixers led at the half, but LaMarcus Aldridge took control in the third quarter. Aldridge and Damian Lillard scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, in the third to help Portland grab an 89-80 advantage. The Blazers outscored Philadelphia by a 39-28 margin in the period.

"That was a tough game, both teams kind of got off to a slow start," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "I think you really have to give credit to Philly for the way they got after us defensively... We did much better, obviously, at both end of the court in the second half."

Aldridge had 33 points and 11 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews added 17 points for the Blazers. Lillard finished with 16 points and Robin Lopez chipped in 12.

The Blazers return home for three of their next four.

Charlotte hasn't won since a road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 14 and has dropped three straight at home.

Most recently, the Hornets fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in Charlotte, 113-92, Monday night. The second half doomed the Hornets, who were outscored, 57-39, during the final 24 minutes.

Cody Zeller finished with a career-high 17 points in the loss, the eighth in nine games for the struggling Hornets. Al Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds, while Kemba Walker put up 15 points despite going 4-of-11 from the field.

Despite the lopsided second half, the Hornets were within six with six minutes to play when the Clippers went on a 16-6 tear, that staked Los Angeles to a 104-88 advantage with 2:10 left.

"We had two decent looks at three's that would have cut it -- one to six (points) and one to seven," said Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. "Playing against that team with the matchups they have, you've got to make all those shots."

The Hornets play four of their next five at home.

The Blazers are 9-2 in their last 11 against the Hornets, but Charlotte is 4-2 in its last six as the host in this series.