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Blazers cruise behind Randolph's 26 points, 11 boards

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers knew that the
time to turn around a two-game losing streak was against the New
Orleans Hornets without Chris Paul.

Zach Randolph had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and the Trail
Blazers beat the Hornets 100-85 on Wednesday night.

"They were without a lot of guys, but we have to take advantage
when we get breaks like that and we did," Blazers coach Nate
McMillan said.

Portland grabbed a 73-55 lead in the third quarter when Jarrett
Jack passed to Brandon Roy for a dunk. The Blazers outscored the
Hornets 26-14 in the quarter to take an 80-60 lead into the final
period and led by as many as 22 points.

The Hornets were without Paul, who sprained his ankle Tuesday
night in the first quarter of a 102-94 loss at Seattle. Last
season's rookie of the year, who was averaging 18.4 points and nine
assists, is out indefinitely. "With Chris out there, guys know
they're going to get wide open shots, so mentally when you know
you've got a guy like that you can prepare for shots and have more
confidence in knocking them down," Hornets guard Jannero Pargo
said. "With him out, guys didn't really know what to expect
tonight."

The Hornets, who were already without Bobby Jackson (cracked
rib), David West (elbow) and Peja Stojakovic (back), have lost 14
of their last 17 games. They have dropped six straight on the road.

Portland has won six of its last eight.

Rasual Butler, Desmond Mason and Pargo each scored 16 points for
New Orleans, which went on a 16-point run in the fourth quarter to
cut it to 85-79. Pargo scored eight straight during the run.

Roy said it made him nervous, because when the Blazers were
struggling through injuries they liked to take advantage of teams
that got complacent with leads.

"I was a little concerned. I had to get my sweat going again.
And I knew Zach did, too," Roy said.

Roy and Randolph combined to stop the Hornets' comeback. Roy
converted a layup and Randolph made a jumper to give the Blazers a
10-point lead with 3:41 left.

"I'm hoping the guys are tired of hearing about great effort,"
Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Let's get a win. We need to
continue focusing. We are shorthanded, and our efforts need to be
at an all-time high."

Portland led by as many as 11 points early and capped the first
quarter with Travis Outlaw's follow dunk that made it 28-21. Rookie
Sergio Rodriguez's 3-pointer extended the lead to 11 with 7:15 left
in the first half.

Despite Paul's glaring absence, the Hornets stayed in the game,
and narrowed it to 50-46 on two free throws by Mason late in the
second.

Randolph hit a hook shot and a jumper to give the Blazers a
54-46 halftime lead.

"We knew the Hornets wanted to come in here and sneak one away,
but we really wanted to pick this win up because we needed it,"
Roy said. "You've got to protect your home floor."

Randolph has 17 double-doubles this season.

Ime Udoka added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers. It
was his second double-double of the season.

Game notes
The Rose Garden held a moment of silence before the game
for President Gerald Ford, who died Tuesday at age 93. ... The
Blazers came back from a 27-point deficit to beat the Hornets 92-91
on Nov. 10 in the teams' first meeting this season. ... Hornets G
Devin Brown was called for a flagrant foul after coming down hard
on Jack. Portland C Jamaal Magloire was later called for a flagrant
against Brown.

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