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Anderson lifts Hornets over Trail Blazers, 98-96

Updated at: 03/10/2013 10:39 PM
By BRETT MARTEL

(AP) NEW ORLEANS - Ryan Anderson capped a 20-point performance with a layup as he was fouled with 1.8 seconds left, and the New Orleans Hornets snapped a three-game skid with a 98-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

Anderson also hit a 3 with 15.6 seconds left that gave the Hornets a 95-93 lead, but Portland rookie Damian Lillard reached the 20-point mark for a sixth straight game by draining a 3 with 11.2 seconds left.

Greivis Vasquez, who also had 20 points, then dribbled out of traffic along the perimeter and found Anderson inside for the winning bucket.

Anthony Davis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, making a critical play in the final half-minute with an offensive rebound. He saved the ball from going over the baseline and whipped a pass to guard Brian Roberts on the perimeter, leading to Anderson’s late 3.

Wesley Matthews scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge 16 for Portland, which fell three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Portland was coming off an impressive 136-106 victory in San Antonio on Friday and was looking for a second-straight victory to keep pace with the Lakers. Instead, the Trail Blazers found themselves down by 10 midway through the fourth quarter after Darius Miller, Anderson and Vasquez all made 3s in successive possessions to put New Orleans up 87-77.

But the Hornets earlier this week had blown second-half leads of 17 points to Orlando and 21 points to the Lakers, and nearly collapsed again.

Matthews, who had six 3s in the game, made three during a late 14-3 run, including one that put Portland back in front 91-90 with 2:39 left.

Davis’ tip-in briefly restored New Orleans’ lead before Nicolas Batum’s jumper gave Portland the lead again, setting the stage for the wild finish.

With Eric Gordon resting as usual on the second of back-to-back games, the Hornets got a key contribution from Roberts, who had nine points and nine assists in a starting role.

Reserve guard Roger Mason Jr. added 10 points. The Hornets shot 55 percent (11 of 20) from 3-point range, with Anderson hitting four. New Orleans also outrebounded Portland 48-30, with 19 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points.

JJ Hickson scored 14 points and Batum 11 for Portland.

Hickson had 10 of his points in the first quarter, including a dunk and a driving reverse layup during a 12-0 Portland run that gave the Blazers their largest lead of the game at 22-13.

New Orleans responded with 11 straight points, including Anderson’s 3 and short fade, to pull back into the lead early in the second quarter. The spurt, snapped by Batum’s 3, comprised the first part of a 20-3 Hornets run that put New Orleans ahead 33-25.

Portland was back within four points when Lillard’s jumper made it 48-44, then New Orleans closed out the period with Vasquez’s driving layup and Mason’s 3 to take a 53-44 lead into halftime.

NOTES: With Roberts leading the Hornets in assists, it marked the first time this season that Vasquez (five assists) did not have or tie for the team lead in that category in a game. ... Portland dropped to 9-22 on the road, but returns home for three games against Memphis, New York and Detroit.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)