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Game 38 Preview: New Orleans Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Game Time: 7:00 p.m. TV CSNNW

Fair Warning: This is a non-preview preview. If you want an extended look at the Hornets you can read the preview before Game 27 or the one before Game 13, both Blazer victories. Not too much has changed. Emeka Okafor is out. Trevor Ariza may be as well. So are Carl Landry and Eric Gordon, of course. And the Hornets are 9-28.

The only question tonight is whether the Blazers will both with a win or whether they'll implode completely. And make no mistake, a loss at home to this team would be an implosion. The Hornets don't have anyone who can seriously hurt Portland if the guys in red and black care. If the Blazers lose we'll have to re-christen this (Don't Give a) Rip City. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Show some pride, impose your will a little, send yourself out on the road with at least a smidgen of momentum.

Lots of people are worried about the long road trip ahead. I am too, a little. The most likely outcome is the Blazers fighting hard just to stay around .500. On the other hand, as odd as it seems, this kind of trip may be exactly what the Blazers need. Their backs are against the wall with no room for "we can't win on the road for some reason" excuses. They have neither distractions nor comforts of home. Nor do they have anyone to look at besides each other for the next couple weeks. I wouldn't be utterly surprised if they came out of this trip in better shape than anticipated, stealing at least one improbable road win from the high-level teams on the docket. That single boost of confidence could turn the season around...not enough to gain a mid- or high-level playoff spot, of course, but at least enough to solidify a low one.

That's provided the Blazers win tonight. If they throw in the towel in this one, all bets are off.

So what say you? Do you believe the Blazers will still make the playoffs? If so, will it take a trade to get there or can the current roster do it? Weigh in below as we await tip-off.

At The Hive will talk more about the actual game, perhaps. If I thought anything New Orleans did would matter one way or the other, I would too. But this one is all on the Blazers either way. Succeed or fail, just decide what your team's about.

Your Jersey Contest Form for the evening.

--Dave (