Saturday , Nov , 11 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Randolph leads Blazers past Hornets

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Zach Randolph scored 31 points, pulled in
12 rebounds and sank the winning free throw with 2.4 seconds left to lead the
Portland Trail Blazers to a stunning 92-91 comeback victory over the New
Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

Randolph’s second straight game of 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds helped
overcome a first-half disaster for Portland in which the Blazers trailed by
27.

A Peja Stojakovic three-pointer tied the game at 91-91 with 5.2 seconds left,
but Randolph was fouled on the ensuing possession, and sank his first shot to
provide the winning margin.

“This should have been over and done with early,” said Paul. “We just let them
back in it.”

There was still time left for a desperation three-quarters of the court shot
by Stojakovic, but the attempt rimmed out. It was determined after the game
that the shot was released after the final buzzer, however, and would not
have counted even if it had miraculously fallen through.

Stojakovic paced the Hornets with 21 points and Desmond Mason added 18. David
West scored 17 and grabbed 13 rebounds for New Orleans, which lost its second
straight game after winning its first four to start the season.

The Blazers were playing without head coach Nate McMillan, who suffered a
death in his family. Assistant Dean Demopoulos coached the Blazers in
McMillan’s absence.

“This team made this comeback and did this for Nate,” said Demopoulos.

Travis Outlaw scored 16 off of the Portland bench and blocked a career-high
six shots as the Trail Blazers won their second straight.

The Trail Blazers completed their massive comeback at 3:47 of the third
quarter when a Martell Webster three-pointer brought Portland even with the
Hornets at 66-66. The Blazers took their first lead of the night at 67-66 on a
Jarrett Jack technical free throw 40 seconds later.

The Hornets quickly regained the lead, though, taking a 71-69 advantage into
the fourth quarter.

The teams traded blowout quarters in the first half. The Hornets and Mason
started red-hot. The Hornets scored the game’s first eight points, and Mason
poured in 14 to lead New Orleans to a 38-13 lead after the first quarter.

The Hornets stretched their lead to its largest at 40-13 after a driving
layup by Bobby Jackson just 20 seconds into the second quarter. Jackson
finished with 15 points off of the Hornets bench.

Randolph led the Blazers back, though, scoring 12 points in a second quarter
in which Portland outscored the Hornets 33-15. Portland finished the half on a
15-3 run to cut the Hornet lead to 53-46 at the half.

“Truthfully, I don’t think there is any player in the league playing any
better than Zach Randolph right now,” said Demopoulos.

Game Notes

A Portland fan hit a half-court shot to win a Toyota Tundra truck between the
first and second quarters…Hornets center Tyson Chandler was ejected at 6:24
of the third quarter for arguing a foul…Randolph was 15-for-16 from the
free-throw line.

POR NOH