Davis sparked a decisive run and finished with 23 points and eight assists to lift the New Orleans Hornets to a 101-79 victory over Portland on Saturday night.
Reserve Darrell Armstrong added 20, including four 3-pointers, and had three of his team’s 10 steals as the Hornets snapped Portland’s three-game winning streak and dropped the Blazers to 0-3 on the road.
The Blazers led 61-60 when Davis started to take over. He found David Wesley for an open jumper, then found Wesley again with a crisp bounce pass through two defenders in transition for a layup. Davis then stole the ball from Stoudamire near midcourt and broke away uncontested for a double-pump jam. That gave New Orleans a 66-61 lead, and the Hornets did not trail again.
“Coach told us we had to pick our pressure up, our intensity up and it starts with me,” Davis said. “I found some passing lanes and we got our hands on some balls and that’s what happened.
“That’s my job—to be the initiator and set other guys up.”
Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells each scored 19 to lead the Blazers, while Damon Stoudamire added 14 and Zach Randolph 13. With New Orleans’ guards pressuring Portland ball-handlers near midcourt, Portland turned the ball over 15 times, accounting for 23 New Orleans points. The Hornets committed just 10 turnovers.
“Their pressure up the floor bothered us,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. “Our offense was very stagnant. Very bad.”
Rookie David West came in to start the fourth quarter and had seven rebounds and four assists in only 12 minutes as the Hornets pulled away.
Steve Smith had 13 for the Hornets to help New Orleans’ reserves score 37 points. New Orleans, shooting and making 3-pointers at a franchise-record pace under new coach Tim Floyd, were 9-of-19 from long range.
“Baron, David and Darrell are guys we count on to get us into our offense,” Floyd said. “They’ve been making their shots at a high pace all year long.”
New Orleans outshot Portland 50 percent to 36 percent and had a 46-40 rebounding advantage despite playing poorly on the boards in the first half.
New Orleans also outscored Portland inside 40-28.
“The Hornets are a pretty good defensive team,” Stoudamire said. “We had to spread our offense but then we didn’t penetrate their defense very well.”
New Orleans never trailed in the first half and led by as much as 35-27 after Davis, who started 4-for-5, knifed through the lane for a layup as he was fouled.
But Portland had 12 offensive rebounds in the half for 10 second-chance points and trailed only 50-49 at halftime following a free throw by DaleDavis.
Davis’ second assist of the game—setting up Brown’s layup in the first quarter—was the 2,000th assist of his career. Davis is only the second player to have that many assists for the Hornets in the franchise’s 16-year history. The other was Muggsy Bogues. … Magloire bled on the floor after getting hit above his right eye late in the first quarter. He returned in the second quarter with a small adhesive bandage on his brow. … Davis nearly hit a backward shot from beyond half court at the third-quarter buzzer. Davis was facing his own basket when the ball was tipped out to him with a second left. He grabbed it without turning around or looking and hurled it high over hishead. It hit the rim and bounced out.