Blazers Return Home After Rough Road Trip To Host Hornets

by Casey Holdahl
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After returning home from a three-game road trip empty handed, the Portland Trail Blazers play three of their next four at the Moda Center, starting with a Thursday night tilt versus the Charlotte Hornets. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

After winning seven of eight and four in a row, the Trail Blazers went 0-3 on an Eastern Conference swing through Toronto, Boston and Detroit. Portland was blown out by the Raptors and Pistons to bookend the trip, while also losing to the Celtics on a buzzer-beater by Al Horford on Super Bowl Sunday.

"It definitely brings you back down to earth," said Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. "We haven't been as sharp defensively, we haven't been as sharp offensively. When you play in spurts or do well in stretches, this is the NBA, teams are going to run you out of here and I think that's what we've experienced in these three road games."

The Trail Blazers have won their last eight games at the Moda Center and defeated the Hornets in the previous meeting this season in Charlotte, though they'll have to perform far better Thursday night than they did on their recent road trip if they're to extend either streak.

They'll also have to prepare for Thursday's contest while waiting out the NBA trade deadline, which expires at noon. While there hasn't been any significant rumors about any Portland players, the prospect of a trade occurring is still hard to ignore.

"It's second nature now, understanding that players get traded every day," said guard CJ McCollum. "Regardless of the level, regardless of where you're at in your career, how many years you have, it's always a potential option in your life."

As for the Hornets, Thursday's game is the third game of a four-game Western Conference road trip, with their most recent result being a 121-104 loss to the Nuggets in Denver on Feb. 5. They had won three straight prior to Monday's loss.

Thursday's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. Brian Wheeler and Michael Holton will have the radio call on NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.