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Hornets 99, Trail Blazers 63

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis broke out of his scoring slump with 21 points and the New Orleans Hornets exploited the road-weary legs of the Portland Trail Blazers for a suffocating 99-63 victory Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena.

In sending Portland to its fifth consecutive road loss before the All-Star break, the Hornets (19-34) held the Trail Blazers (25-28) to multiple season lows on the offensive end. The Blazers' 26 first-half points and 63 total points were their worst outputs of the season.

The Hornets' smothering defense held Portland to 30.9 percent shooting over the first three quarters, when New Orleans built a 23-point lead, 67-44. That margin came at the end of a 10-0 run at the end of the quarter, with Ryan Anderson (14 points) hitting a pair of 3-pointers.

It just got worse from there. The Hornets, who have won four of their last five games, widened their advantage to as many as 30 points, 82-52, with 6:49 left and then extended it to 39 points inside the final minute.

Davis had scored just 19 points in his previous four games and was coming off an 0-of-7 night against Detroit on Monday night. The Hornets also got 13 points from Jason Smith and 10 each from Greivis Vasquez and Al-Farouq Aminu.

The Blazers, who lost for the ninth time in 10 road games, were held 34 points below their season average of 97.5. Rookie Damian Lillard led Portland with 12 points.

The Hornets took a 38-26 lead into intermission despite shooting only 37.2 percent from the floor. The Blazers looked fatigued after a blowing a late lead in Miami on Tuesday night.

In one stretch spanning the first and second quarters, Portland scored only one basket -- a reverse layup by Will Barton -- while missing seven shots and committing six turnovers.

The 26 points allowed by the Hornets in the first half also was their best defensive effort of the season. The previous low was 29 points against the Pacers on Dec. 22.

The Blazers lost shooting guard Wesley Matthews in the first two minutes of the game with a sprained left ankle. Matthews had to be assisted into the locker room.

Vasquez and Davis scored seven points each in the first half to lead New Orleans, and the Hornets committed only four turnovers, which compensated for their tepid shooting.

NOTES: Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon sat out the game with a sprained right hand. Austin Rivers got the start. ... NBA 3-point leader Anderson is headed to the All-Star Game to participate in the 3-point shootout. Anderson entered the Portland game having made 30 of 65 (46.2 percent) from long range in his previous nine games. ... The Trail Blazers were trying to salvage the final game of a six-game road trip, having lost their previous four games. "We want to go into the All-Star break with some positive energy and go into the second half of the season with some positive energy," said coach Terry Stotts.
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