New Orleans' bid to extend its winning streak and compile a perfect Western road trip came to an end in large part due to a sputtering second-half offense at Portland. The Hornets led 65-61 in the third quarter but the Trail Blazers launched a 17-0 run bridging the periods. The visitors never recovered, seeing their four-game win streak halted.
It was an evenly-played game between two of the West's promising young teams throughout the first half, but New Orleans (9-6) couldn't sustain it over the final 1 1/2 quarters. More developments from the 15-point defeat at the Rose Garden:
The proud father of Tyson Chandler Jr. was back in the lineup and started at center, moving Hilton Armstrong to second-unit center and Melvin Ely out of the mix. The new dad finished with six points and six rebounds before fouling out in 31 minutes. Armstrong continued his aggressive play of late, notching eight points and four boards in 18 minutes.
PEJA WARMING UP
One bright spot of the visit to Portland was Peja Stojakovic, who had one of his best games of the season. Stojakovic went 8-for-14 from the field (3-for-5 on treys) and netted a season-best 21 points. The starting small forward was 18-for-37 on field goals during the team's 2-1 road trip, well above his season percentage of 38.
MARKS IN FOURTH
A night after making his 2007-08 debut, Sean Marks was on the floor for eight minutes vs. the Trail Blazers, including the early part of the fourth quarter, when the Hornets were trying to get back within striking distance. He was 1-for-3 from the field, drilling his lone three-point look.
HORNETS POSTGAME QUOTES (Courtesy Portland Trail Blazers)
On late third/early fourth drought:
I was amazed to be honest with you that we were in the game even that close because we didnt come out with the energy and effort that we needed to come out with against this team. They were really aggressive from the outset. They played really hard, I thought we were really fortunate to be 69-69. Every possession we missed shots, they were getting to the basketball all night long. It seemed to me that we were happy with the 2 and 1 (road-trip record) going back home. Most teams, if youre a championship team, you want to come in here and at least play a lot better.
Theyre tough here. They play extremely well at home. You cant come out with a half-(hearted) effort. If you do, youre going to get your hat handed to you. Like I said, we were in the game at that particular team. We were making shots at the time, but we werent getting any stops. They were just outworking us.
I think that if anybody asked me at the beginning of this road trip if we went 2-1, if Id be happy, I would say yeah. But still, the way that we lost tonight, more than anything
You know, Im not disappointed in the loss, Im disappointed in the way we lost. We just have to go back and regroup. We just have to understand that a team thats going to compete for a championship in the division or in the playoffs
we have to be able to play harder for longer periods of time and weve got to do it all season long. We cant come in here with these types of efforts.
On Portland taking control late:
They put it in another gear and we didnt match it. We hung in there for three quarters and then we laid down."
No, that never has anything to do with it. I dont believe in the back-to-back. Once they throw the ball up, you forget that you played a game the day before."
Theyre a really good team. Me and coach talked about it at halftime. They have a lot of great shooters outside of Pryzbilla and Greg Oden, everyone can shoot. They really space the court well and thats what give Brandon Roy and opportunity to go to work."
On if N.O. is a championship team:
No, not right now. We are nowhere near where we need to be. We have a lot of work to do, mentally, physically... as a team. Its a long season but the only way that were going to get in the playoffs is if we start winning games.