One more game before the All-Star break is upon us...which describes precisely one of the main issues facing the Portland Trail Blazers tonight as they face the New Orleans Hornets. It's the end of a long road trip. An extended break lies just around the corner for some, the glitz and hype of the Houston festivities for others. Overlooking the 18-34 Hornets would be awfully tempting. It'd also be a mistake. Though their overall record is poor the Hornets have mostly recovered from injuries, have begun to gel, and have won 3 of their last 4. They're not going to put fear into anybody but the Blazers aren't good enough to take any team lightly.

Shooting guard Eric Gordon, the most potent offensive player on the New Orleans roster, has been back for a month or so. He rounded into form a few weeks ago but continues to wrestle with back problems and has registered 3 DNP's, 3 single-digit scoring nights, and one 27-point outpouring against the Hawks in his last 7 games. When healthy this guy is a legit scorer but his ailments have sunk his shooting percentages this year. Nevertheless, the Hornets look different, and more threatening, when he plays, if nothing else because of the potential for a wild-crazy night.