Hornets improve to 8-0 with win over Blazers
NEW ORLEANS -- The unbeaten New Orleans Hornets won their eighth in a row, with David West and Marco Belinelli each scoring 18 points Saturday night in a 107-87 win over the Portland Trail Blazers 107-87.
The Hornets, the only undefeated team in the NBA, led from start to finish. They have held every one of their opponents below 100 points.
Portland cut a 17-point deficit to 75-70 early in the fourth quarter, but New Orleans responded with a 16-5 run to put the game away.
Chris Paul added 11 points and 13 assists for the Hornets. Center Emeka Okafor had a double-double before the end of the third quarter, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Nicolas Batum led the Trail Blazers with 16 points, all in the second half. Andre Miller scored 12 of his 14 in the first half.
Blazers All-Star Brandon Roy, bothered by a chronically sore left knee, limped to the locker room with 6:43 left in the third quarter. He missed his first six shots and did not score until the third period, shortly before exiting for good.
New Orleans was in control almost all the way, placing seven scorers in double figures and quickly answering Portland's surge spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.
Hornets reserve Willie Green, averaging 7.3 points through seven games, almost matched that output in two minutes after Portland pulled within 75-70. He converted a drive into a 3-point play, hit a layup off a turnover and made an outside jumper to give the Hornets an 84-73 lead.
West and Peja Stojakovic took over from there. Stojakovic hit a 3-pointer between two inside baskets from West.
Belinelli sealed the victory with two 3-pointers after Portland climbed with 91-81 on a 3 by Batum.
The Hornets had 11 assists and only one turnover in the first half, taking a 10-point lead on Stojakovic's 3-pointer with 8:47 left in the second quarter and maintaining the double-digit advantage for the rest of the half. Stojakovic hit another 3 to make the score 38-23 and New Orleans was ahead by as many as 17 points.
The Hornets, who entered as the NBA leader in scoring defense, held the Trail Blazers to 35 points on 14-of-41 shooting in the first half.