Jack sparks Blazers to first victory
PORTLAND — When Jarrett Jack got pulled from the Portland Trail Blazers' starting lineup, he responded with zeal.
Jack scored 20 points, nine in the fourth quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers earned their first victory of the season by beating the previously undefeated New Orleans Hornets 93-90 on Wednesday night.
"I just try to embrace my role," Jack said. "He (coach Nate McMillan) wants me to be more aggressive, so I came out with a sense of urgency."
Martell Webster added 20 points, and Brandon Roy had 17 points and seven assists for the Blazers (1-3), playing their home opener.
David West had 34 points and 18 rebounds for the Hornets (4-1), who had matched last season's start for the best in franchise history with four straight wins. One of their season-opening victories came last Friday when they beat the Blazers 113-93.
West scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds in the first half alone for the Hornets, coming off a 118-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers the night before. Peja Stojakovic made a franchise-record 10 3-pointers and Chris Paul set a team record with 21 assists against the Lakers.
Stojakovic had one 3-pointer and just five points against the Blazers. Paul finished with 18 points and 12 assists.
"It's their opening night, they had the crowd behind them and they had a lot of energy," Paul said. "I don't think we did a great job of getting good quality shots and it was one of those nights."
The Blazers led by as many as 15 points, but went cold and the Hornets narrowed it with an 11-0 run capped by West's jumper that closed the margin to 81-77. But New Orleans was unable to pull ahead.
The Trail Blazers had a seven-point lead in the second quarter, but Paul's free throws with 3:14 left put the Hornets ahead 41-40. Stojakovic's 3-pointer extended the lead, and New Orleans went on lead 49-44 at the half.
The Blazers regained the lead when LaMarcus Aldridge's jumper made it 61-60, and Webster added a 3-pointer.
It was part of an 18-5 run to open the second half, capped by Webster's 3-pointer that put Portland up 72-60. Soon thereafter, Hornets center Tyson Chandler elbowed Webster under New Orleans' basket and was ejected from the game.
"We didn't play smart down the stretch. We lost our composure in the third, not being smart, technical fouls," West said. "Tyson lost his cool. I told him he can't do that. He's got to be in the game for us. It's not a smart play at that point of the game."
The Blazers were coming off an 89-80 loss at Houston on Saturday night. In response, McMillan shook up the starting lineup, replacing Joel Przybilla with Channing Frye at center, and Jack with Steve Blake at the point.
"We really got that spark off the bench that we were looking for from Jack tonight," McMillan said.
A big part of Portland's home opener wasn't on the court. Top NBA draft pick Greg Oden, who is recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee, was the first Blazer introduced.
Oden, walking without the aid of his crutches, did the honor of introducing his teammates, who came down to the court through the stands.