PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The road has been kind to the Charlotte
Hornets, and being a starter is doing wonders for Lee Nailon.
The second-year forward for the Hornets scored a career-high 26 points, and Baron Davis had 22 points and 12 assists, as the Hornets ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Portland Trail Blazers
95-89 Thursday night.
Nailon, starting his ninth game in place of injured Jamal
Mashburn, scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and also had a
career-high 11 rebounds.
"I'm just trying to show these guys around the NBA that, hey, I
can play in this league," Nailon said.
The Hornets improved to 4-5 without Mashburn, who has an
abdominal strain. But in his absence, Nailon has averaged 16.1
points and 6.1 rebounds, up from 5.1 and 2.9 in nine games as a
"This is a great experience for him," coach Paul Silas said.
"I didn't know in my wildest dreams that he would come out as he
has. The one thing he can do is put the ball in the hoop."
Just as impressive is Charlotte's record away from home, where
there's doubt about how many more seasons the team will play
without a new arena. The Hornets are 2-5 in the Hive and 6-5 on the
Rasheed Wallace led the Blazers with 18 points, but his
technical foul sparked the Hornets to a decisive 20-10 run over the
final 7:22 of the third quarter.
Portland cut the deficit from 17 to five when Ruben Patterson
made a layup on a goaltending call with 1:07 left. But the Blazers
couldn't get any closer.
"I thought we were getting good shots, but we just hit a
drought, and we couldn't make any shots," said Scottie Pippen, who
started for the first time since Nov. 13. "You can't play like
that. Even though we're on our home court, you don't have that
luxury to play like that."
Damon Stoudamire had 12 assists for Portland, which lost its
second consecutive and fell to 9-9, tied for fourth place in the
Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Clippers. Both are 7½ games
behind the first-place Lakers.
Portland's performance was surprising, considering it had
practiced for three consecutive days and hadn't played since Saturday,
another ugly defeat against Phoenix.
"I hate four days off," Steve Kerr said. "Four days off is
the worst thing that can happen in the NBA. You get into a rhythm
where you play every other night, maybe have two days off between a
game, but you get four or five days off ... I felt like I was
running in quicksand out there."
The Blazers were lucky to trail by seven at halftime following a
lethargic second quarter, but Wallace's technical seemed to
invigorate the Hornets.
This wasn't even one of Wallace's familiar tantrums. After Dale
Davis made a jump shot to get the Blazers to 53-46 down, Wallace
passed the ball to referee Bill Kennedy, who interpreted the move
as taunting and whistled Wallace for his sixth technical foul of
Wesley made the free throw, then a 20-foot jumper. After a
turnover, Wesley connected from 22 feet, and after Pippen then
threw the ball away, Wesley drove for a layup to give Charlotte a
Davis hit a 3-pointer, and Jamaal Magloire grabbed an offensive
rebound and converted a layup to push the lead to 73-56 entering
Baron Davis, who was held scoreless in the fourth quarter of
the 104-100 defeat Tuesday night at Utah, had six assists in the first
quarter against the Blazers.
After Bonzi Wells' jumper began the second quarter, the Blazers
made just one basket in the next 11 minutes. Dale Davis hit a
difficult running jumper with 40 seconds left, but Baron Davis made
a 3-pointer, and Nailon's free throw put the Hornets ahead 45-38 at
Portland tied its season low with 13 points in the quarter, and
also committed eight turnovers. The Hornets should have led by
double digits, but they were just 1-for-6 from the line in the
Portland is 7-0 when Wallace scores at least 23 points, and
2-9 when he doesn't. ... Portland has failed to fill its arena six
consecutive games, after a streak of 104 consecutive sellouts. ...
Wallace overtook Wells for the team lead in technicals; each had
five before the game.