Hornets Overcome Blazers; Paul Injured
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 90, Portland 80
OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- Kirk Snyder is embracing his role as a starter for the New Orleans Hornets.
Making his third straight start, Snyder scored eight of his career-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and David West added 19 and 13 rebounds as the Hornets withstood a late rally to post a 90-80 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 6-6 Snyder made 9-of-15 shots, including a dagger 3-pointer with 1:34 left that gave the Hornets an 86-76 edge. He added six rebounds and four blocks in 35 minutes.
"I was just waiting my turn and working really hard," Snyder said. "I was just waiting for the opportunity that I have been given. This is what I have been working for."
Scott likely will have to rely even more on Snyder over the next few weeks as rookie guard Chris Paul tore a ligament in his thumb early in the third quarter and will be out for at least two weeks.
"I had to start making plays that he makes," Snyder said. "He makes plays for everybody and I tried to do that tonight."
The Hornets appeared to put the game out of reach early as Snyder and West scored six points apiece to help build a 30-13 edge after one quarter.
Portland trimmed the deficit to 53-39 by halftime before taking advantage of Paul's injury to open the third period with a 21-1 spurt to move in front.
"I think everyone started to hang their heads a little bit when Chris went out of the game. It looked pretty bad," Scott said. "I think it took a few minutes to remember we had a basketball game to win."
Juan Dixon scored eight of his 27 points during the burst and Steve Blake hit a layup with 4:28 left to give the Trail Blazers a 60-54 lead.
"We fought back and got up six but then lost it," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan, whose team wrapped up an 0-3 road trip. "When you are on the road, you have to be solid and we just didn't hold on."
The Hornets responded by bridging the quarters with an 18-5 run, capped by Rasual Butler's 3-pointer that made it 72-65 with just over nine minutes to play.
"When Chris came back out from the locker room to watch us from the bench, it gave us lift," Snyder said. "He's just really important to us emotionally as a basketball team, even from the bench."
The Blazers drew within two points four times thereafter but were unable to forge a tie. The Hornets broke it open with just over two minutes left, when West grabbed a big offensive rebound on P.J. Brown's missed layup and converted a three-point play, pushing the lead to 83-76.
Travis Outlaw missed on the other end and Snyder all but sealed the victory with a 3-pointer from the right corner, lifting the Hornets to their first three-game winning streak since the 2003-04 season.
"It's been a while," Brown said. "We're still hungry, and this is all part of the maturation process of this team. With Chris out of the lineup, this is a chance for us to see if we are a serious team in this league."