Hornets.com postgame: Blazers 86, Hornets 74

Monday, March 5, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Blazers (19-19), Hornets (9-29)

It was over when… the Hornets could not get a shot off before the third-quarter buzzer, a fitting capper to an ultra-sloppy stanza in which Portland held a 24-10 scoring advantage. Following the dominant quarter, the Trail Blazers were up 70-48. Although New Orleans has rarely been blown out over the last few weeks, the defeat at Portland marked the second straight game in which the outcome was virtually sealed before the final 12 minutes of action. The Hornets head to Sacramento for a Wednesday game.

Hornets MVP: Marco Belinelli tried his best to keep New Orleans competitive, tallying a team-best 18 points. He had 14 in the first three quarters, one of only two Hornets to crack double-digit scoring at that stage of the night (Chris Kaman was the other, with exactly 10 points).

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Xavier Henry capitalized on some additional playing time in the fourth quarter, dropping in three jumpers for seven points. Henry scored a total of nine points, tying Greivis Vasquez for most by a NOLA bench player.

The buzz on... a discouraging start to a difficult trek out West. With 28 games remaining for New Orleans in the abbreviated 66-game schedule, the Hornets won’t be going to the playoffs in late April. But they can help determine who does make the eight-team field. This week’s four-game road trip includes games against three of the clubs fighting to at least earn the eighth postseason spot in the conference – Portland, Denver and Minnesota. On Monday against the Trail Blazers, the Hornets were their own worst enemies, putting forth a subpar performance in virtually every offensive category. They needed a late burst to get up to 41 percent shooting from the field, while going just 13-for-22 from the foul line. The Hornets also committed 16 turnovers. Although the Hornets have played much better on the road over the past month, it was the kind of effort that won’t result in victories while facing opponents whose seasons are hanging in the balance right now.