The Hornets are getting close to securing a Western Conference playoff spot, but their jockeying for seeding could continue to the very end.
At 43-32, the Hornets are in sixth place in the West and four games ahead of the ninth-place Rockets. Any combination of New Orleans victories and Houston defeats totaling three will send the Hornets to the postseason.
New Orleans has clinched the tiebreaker with the Rockets because it is guaranteed a better record in the Southwest Division even if Houston were to even the season series with a victory in the final head-to-head meeting April 6 in New Orleans.
The Hornets also have the tiebreaker against the Blazers, who have the same record as them after the Hornets' 95-91 victory over Portland on Wednesday in the New Orleans Arena. The win gave New Orleans a 3-1 edge in the season series, the first tiebreaker.
"This means a lot," guard Chris Paul said. "Giving us the series edge with them is huge because we're right there neck and neck. We've still got a lot of games to play, but this game was big for us.
"A lot was at stake. When you get into that last week of the season and you're trying to figure out who is in and who is not, to know if it finishes with us with the same record, we got the edge on them."
The Hornets have just a one-game lead on eighth-place Memphis, which it plays Friday in New Orleans and April 10 in Memphis.
"It's always good to hold your own destiny," forward Trevor Ariza said. "What we've got to do is win, play together, play the way we know how and we'll be all right.
"You can't really worry about all the games you have ahead of you. You just have to take it one game at a time and play your hardest every game, and everything else will take care of itself."
HORNETS 95, TRAIL BLAZERS 91: Willie Green scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets outscored the Blazers 27-21 in the final period. The Blazers had a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Green scored his 10 points during a 16-4 run that gave the Hornets an 84-75 lead. Portland kept coming back but could never catch up, as Carl Landry made five of six free throws in the final 47 seconds.
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