• The "give the ball to Travis Outlaw and let him operate" is in full effect. This one is going to end NOLA 92, Blazers 77. Tough loss, but without Roy, PTB is going to have to play near perfect ball to get a W. That didn't happen tonight.
• Nate McMillan calls a timeout with 1:15 to play. New Orleans up 88-76. With the game basically out of reach, it's time to start working on late-game execution. Teaching moment.
• Outlaw score his 14th and 15th points on a jumper, but Peja answers back, and then some, with a deep three. Just about done with this one.
• After Paul hits another tough fadeaway to put NOLA up 83-71, the Trail Blazers faithful begin heading to the exits. Then again, if you're leaving with 2 minutes to play, you might no be considered "faithful," though that's not for me to decide.
• Chris Paul is doing what All-Stars do: He's taking over in the fourth quarter. Every time the Blazers get a little something going, Paul is there to answer with a three or an assist. CP3 has 15 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, so far.
• Hilton Armstrong slams home a missed Posey three, pushing the lead to 11 with 5:43 to play. This one seems to be slipping away. PTB have score just 4 points in this quarter. That's not going to get it done against anyone, let alone an upper-echelon team like the Hornets.
• New Orleans goes up 72-63. No Roy in the fourth quarter to make the magic happen. Who's going to step up? I'm guessing that's what McMillan is asking his team every time they huddle up.
• Nate McMillan goes with Oden and Przybilla in the lineup together. Coach said pre-game that he liked what he saw out of the combination against the Celtics. We'll see how it works this time.
• Trail Blazers commit another over and back, and that's turnover number 13. NOLA up 68-63, and Portland needs a bucket in the worst way right now.
• Rudy replaces Sergio, which moves Bayless to the point. The Jay Bay playing important fourth quarter minutes tonight.
• Posey goes buckets with a deep three to put the Hornets up 66-63. NOLA has a little bit of juice early in the quarter.
• Great ball movement gets Outlaw an open jumper with 8 seconds left in the quarter. Puts PTB up 61-59. Unfortunately the defense forgets about those remaining 8 seconds, letting CP3 saunter his way to the hoop for an easy layin. Those are the plays that shorten Nate McMillan's life expectancy. End of the third we're all square at 61-61.
• Oden picks up foul number four courtesy of a 50/50 offensive foul against Hilton Armstrong. Joel checks back in after a short breather.
• Przybilla gets a much deserved standing ovation from the crowd as Greg Oden returns. I forgot to note that Chandler swiped at Joel's bad wrist during the kerfuffle. That's mad dirty pool.
• The Trail Breakers are out doing their thing at half court, which is always my favorite in game entertainment. Must be David West's as well, as he stops and watches the Trail Breakers during the entire timeout.
• WOW. Tyson Chandler and Joel Przybilla damn near come to blows with 6:16 to play in the quarter. Here's the breakdown.
Przy has a hand on Chandler's side, which is his right as a defender. Chandler slaps Joel's hand away with extreme prejudice. Przy puts his forearm back on Chandler, maybe a little more forcefully than usual. Chandler retaliates by throwing an elbow into Przybilla's chest. It's on after that. Both guys square up ready to throw, but calmer heads prevail.
Refs review the play and end up giving Przybilla a personal foul, but Chandler a flagrant 2. Chandler gets tossed, Przybilla hits both free throws, and the game goes on.
• Public address announcer Mark Mason throws out the "Blazers lead! Blazers lead!" with just over 10 minutes to play in the third quarter. It's techincally true; the Blazers did in fact lead, but it's still a but early to throw that chestnut out there.
• Przybilla gets the second half start in place of the foul-plagued Oden. Przy gets an early layin to bring his total for the game to 6. I feel a double-double coming on!
• Bayless sends Chandler to the deck with about 3 seconds to play. Nice plan, as it looks like the play was drawn up to use the big man. Paul has to jack a 3 as time expires. Air ball, end of half. NOLA 45, Portland 43.
• Throwing the ball into the third row probably wasn't the play Nate McMillan drew up with 30 seconds to play in the half.
• Travis Outlaw can get his shot against Stojakovic any time he wants. Knowing Travis, he's going to want it a lot.
• Peja's first foul of the night with 1:50 to play in the half puts the Hornets in the penalty. Hopefully the PTB can make'em pay.
• I was thinking before the game that Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler hadn't burned the Blazers too many times this year on the alley-oop. I should have controlled my thoughts better because CP3 and Chandler have already connected on two such dunks. My bad.
• Joel Przybilla's janky wrist doesn't seem to be slowing "The Thrilla" down much early. He's got 6 points and 4 rebounds already.
• David West has answered ever Portland run with a big bucket. Dude always has nice games against the Blazers.
• The Rose Garden was starting to fall asleep until Rudy slammed how a fastbreak pass from Blake, then followed up with a pumpfake pullup three to bring the Blazers to within one.
• Greg picks up foul number three. Oy, it's going to be a long night.
• Too bad Oden got into early (and suspect) foul trouble. With Brandon Roy out, the Trail Blazers are going to need all the offense they can get.
• Jerryd Bayless has already played the best game of his pro career just minutes into the first quarter. A bucket, a steal and an assist on consecutive possessions instantly becomes the best 30 seconds ever played by Bayless the Trail Blazer.
• Peja Stojakovic already has three three-pointers. Nic Batum needs to take it upon himself to lock that dude down.
• LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Ferandez both have two turnovers apiece. Ball control guys, ball control.
• Jack Nies is supposed to be the third referee tonight, but he's sitting this one out for one reason or another. Depending on your opinion of officiating in the NBA, that's either a good thing or a bad thing.
• Aldridge is 1-for-6 in the first quarter. Again, TXBOY12 is going to have to step up without Roy in the lineup. He know that, and might be pressing a little due to that.