PORTLAND — The New Orleans Hornets returned to their winning ways by re-establishing their defense.

PORTLAND — The New Orleans Hornets returned to their winning ways by re-establishing their defense.

Reserve Willie Green scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half, Trevor Ariza added 18, and the Hornets got back on track with a 97-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night

Chris Paul had 16 points and 13 assists for the Hornets, who got off to one of the best starts in the NBA but had dropped two of their previous three games on a West Coast road trip. The Hornets had given up an average of 102 points in those two losses, including an ugly 105-87 defeat at Utah Wednesday.

New Orleans clamped down on Portland, holding the Blazers to 39.5 percent shooting and a season-low point total.

Brandon Roy scored 27 points, leading the Blazers in his return from a sore knee that kept him out three games. LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, losers of four of their last six. No other Blazer scored in double figures.

New Orleans (12-3) has beaten Portland four straight times. The Hornets clobbered Portland 107-87 in New Orleans on Nov. 13. Roy left that game with the knee injury and had not played since. The banged-up Blazers got a much-needed, six-day break before this game, last playing on Saturday in a 103-94 loss to Utah, but the rest didn't help.

"We kind of got off our rhythm," said Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, who was 1 of 6 from the field with just four points. "It's hard to get your rhythm back when the other team is scoring on you."

Portland led most of the first half and the Blazers were up by nine in the second quarter, but New Orleans went on a 17-2 run to take a lead that it never relinquished.

Roy made a 20-footer to get the Blazers within 79-72 with 8:18 remaining in the game, but Portland stalled from there. Paul scored back-to-back baskets to give New Orleans its biggest lead to that point at 85-72. Portland had just 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Portland expected to get center Joel Przybilla back from a ruptured patella tendon, but the 7-footer's return was delayed because of the stomach flu. The Blazers could have used him on the boards — New Orleans outrebounded Portland by 21.