Trail Blazers-Hornets Preview

Strong defensive play has helped key the Portland Trail Blazers’ recent success, but they needed to rely on offense to extend the longest current winning streak in the NBA their last time out.

The Blazers seek their ninth straight victory when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Portland (11-3) came into its latest contest having allowed 88.8 points per game in its previous four victories, but suffered defensive lapses against winless Philadelphia and needed to rally from a two-point halftime deficit for a 114-104 victory Monday.

"Well, road wins are tough in this league," coach Terry Stotts said. "To be able to come back against a team that was really, playing with some desperation – it means a lot to get a win a like that. We weren’t clicking on all cylinders."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who had given up an average of 104.8 points in four contests Nov. 8-12 – a stretch that preceded their recent stingy four-game span.

Portland leads the league with 47.7 rebounds per game and ranks near the top with 104.4 points scored and 95.3 allowed.

"I think our defense has been the one constant throughout (the winning streak)," Stotts told the team’s official website. "It’s good to know that we have that."

The Blazers are looking for their second victory over the Hornets this month, having won 102-100 in Charlotte on Nov. 11 behind 25 points and 14 rebounds from Aldridge and a game-high 29 points from Lillard.

Charlotte (4-11) has lost six straight, averaging 89.7 points and 42.6 percent shooting during that span.

Cody Zeller scored 17 points Monday, but Charlotte shot 2 for 20 from 3-point range and no Hornets player recorded more than nine boards in a 113-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Hornets were outrebounded 43-33.

Coach Steve Clifford still found positives in the performances of Kemba Walker, who scored 15 points with six assists, and Al Jefferson, who had 16 points – though Jefferson failed to reach the 20-point mark for the first time in four games, and Walker was 0 for 4 from beyond the arc and shot 4 of 11 overall.

”We can’t lose our spirit,” Clifford said. ”To be a good team in this league it takes a lot of things but your best players have to be prideful and hard players. Al and Kemba tonight showed again they’re going to fight for this and they’re going to try hard to get this turned around.”

Charlotte has allowed opponents to shoot 49.5 percent during its skid. Los Angeles went 15 of 32 on 3-pointers Monday.

"They shot the ball well," Clifford said. "But the next teams coming in here shoot the ball just as well or better. That’s what’s scary."

Portland is 35-14 all-time against the Hornets and has won nine of 11 matchups. The Hornets took the last home meeting 124-94 on March 22, but Aldridge didn’t play.