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Hornets' win stings Blazers

by: LAYNE MURDOCH Trail Blazer forward Gerald Wallace (center) races back and soars to block a breakaway layup attempt by New Orleans' Chris Paul in Wednesday's game, with Portland guard Rudy Fernandez also on defense.

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Hornets pulled even with the Trail Blazers in the standings and won the season series 3-1, defeating Portland 95-91 Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena to gain the head-to-head tiebreaker for playoff positioning.

The teams are tied for sixth place in the Western Conference at 43-32 with seven games remaining in the regular season. Memphis is one game behind them and holds the eighth and final postseason spot in the West.

Carl Landry led the Hornets with 21 points as a starter for injured forward David West, and Landry went 4 for 4 at the free-throw line in the final moments to seal the win. West is out for the season.

Backup guard Willie Green sparked a New Orleans rally by scoring 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.

Portland shot 50 percent from the field and led by as many as 11 points in the first half before closing the half and the third quarter on top by two.

Blazer coach Nate McMillan cited turnovers, free throws and offensive rebounds as keys to the outcome. Portland made 12 of 16 free throws, while the Hornets were 22 of 29.

"Turnovers were huge," McMillan said.

Portland had only 12 turnovers, but nine were in the second half and a big one came with 13 seconds left and the Blazers trailing by three points. Point guard Andre Miller lost the handle on a spin move, leading to a foul on Landry, who made two shots to boost the New Orleans lead to an insurmountable five points.

Miller made 8 of 12 from the floor in a 19-point night before a crowd announced as 12,575.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 24 points and 15 rebounds. He was 11 of 19 from the field.

Off the bench, Patty Mills was 5 of 5 from the field and scored 13 points. He was 3 for 3 from beyond the arc.

Gerald Wallace gave Portland 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Nicolas Batum, guarding New Orleans star point guard Chris Paul some of the time, went 0 for 7 from the field and had two points and one rebound. Paul was 4 of 14 from the field in totaling 11 points, 12 assists and four steals.

The Blazers, who have five more games at home, will play host to Oklahoma City on Friday night at the 'Rose Garden.