Blazers end road trip with disappointing loss

Portland loses at Detroit in final seconds, 94-91
Jan. 21, 2012

The Portland Trail Blazers closed out a six-game road trip in the worst way Saturday, losing in the final seconds to a deflated team.

Detroit's Rodney Stuckey came off the bench and lit up Portland for 28 points, including four free throws in the final seven seconds to boost the Pistons to only their fourth win of the season, 94-91.

The Blazers had a final possession to try and tie the game but turned the ball over.

Portland finished its road trip with two wins in six games and returns to the Rose City at 9-7 and tied for ninth in the Western Conference.

A night after setting career marks with 33 points and 23 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points, but just fdour rebounds in 34 minutes. Raymond Felton added 20 points and nine assists, but the Blazers couldn't match the Pistons' shooting from long range. Detroit hit 7 of 15 3-point attempts, including 4 of 5 by Stuckey, while Portland hit just 3 of 20 attempts.

The Blazers play Sacramento Monday and surging Memphis Tuesday.



LaMarcus Aldridge, perhaps sparked by being named a finalist to play in the Olympic Games and also earning his spot on the All-Star ballot, blew up on the court Friday in Toronto, scoring 33 points and grabbing 23 rebounds - both career highs - to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 94-84 win.

Portland rolled to a 27-14 lead in the first quarter and held the lead for the remainder of the game.

Aldridge, who even left the court to receive treatment for a sore back late in the first quarter, is averaging 22.5 points per game, which is good for seventh in the NBA.

"He put us on his back tonight and that's what great players do," Jamal Crawford told media afterward. "I could tell he was a little different, even in the warmups. He had a different focus. He wasn't about to lose tonight."

Raymond Felton had 14 and Jamal Crawford added 10 points for Portland, which can wrap up a six-game road trip with a 3-3 record by beating Detroit Saturday in the Motor City.



ATLANTA - Another late comeback, another loss for the Portland Trail Blazers.

A week after nearly rallying from a double-digit deficit to win in the fourth quarter, the Blazers overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter at Atlanta, but still lost 92-89.

Portland made up a 75-62 deficit by scoring the first 13 points of the fourth quarter and led 78-77 when the Hawks went on a 11-2 run to take an 8-point lead with 1:01 left in the game.

Jamal Crawford, who played in Atlanta last season, led the Blazers with 22 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Blazers shot just 38 percent from the field and gave up a 22-10 edge in fastbreak points.

Portland fell to 8-6 overall, and 2-5 on the road heading to Toronto for a game Friday followed by a trip to Detroit Saturday to wrap up a six-game road trip. The Raptors are 4-11 and have lost six straight games, while Detroit is 3-12 following a loss to Minnesota Wednesday.

Atlanta, which got 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists from Joe Johnson, improved to 11-4 overall, 7-1 at home.



Jan. 17, 2012

Portland's road back to NBA respectability will get a bit test Wednesday at Atlanta.

The Trail Blazers, who fell from fifth to 13th in the ESPN Power Rankings in one week, play a team that's been beating the best teams in the Eastern Conference - Miami and Chicago.

Portland enters at 8-5 overall after a win at New Orleans on Monday. Atlanta is 10-4 and has won six of its last seven games, including three straight. The Hawks beat Toronto 93-84 Monday behind 28 points and 15 rebounds from Josh Smith.

The Blazers have the optimism created by LaMarcus Aldridge being named as one of the 20 finalists to be selected for the US Olympic Team Monday.

Atlanta will play without one of its top players, Al Horford, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle and will be lost until at least the playoffs.


Howard, Magic shoot past Blazers

Orlando's hot hand works against Portland, 107-104
Jan. 11, 2012

Dwight Howard had 13 points and 13 rebounds and the Orlando Magc handed Portland it first home loss of the NBA season, 107-104 Wednesday at the Rose Garden.

Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson both had 16 points to lead seven Orlando players in double figures. The Magic hit 58 percent of their field-goal attempts and shot 59 percent (16 of 27) from three-point territory.

Portland got 23 points and eight rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge and 24 points and five assists from Jamal Crawford off the bench. The Blazers were outrebounded 42-32, but forced 18 turnovers and held a 24-10 edge in points off turnovers.

Both teams were 7-3 after the game.

The loss saw the Blazers fall to 6-1 at home as they prepare for a six-game road trip that begins Friday at San Antonio. Portland plays the six games in nine days.

Blazers beat Clippers, keep rolling at home

Portland improves to 6-0 at home with 105-97 win over Los Angeles
Jan. 10, 2012

Gerald Wallace scored 20 points, including a key 3-pointer with two minutes left, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 Tuesday to avenge a loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on New Year's Day.

Wallace, who was held scoreless in the loss in LA, made 8 of 12 shots from the field to help Portland shoot 51 percent from the field. He also had four rebounds and four assists.

"I think we were more mentally ready for them" Wallace told media afterward. "We felt like we just let the game in L.A. get away, so we wanted to come out and jump on them from the start."

When the fans' chant was mentioned after the game, Wallace smiled again.

"They keep me amped," he said.

 LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and seven rebounds for Portland, which improved to 7-2 overall and 6-0 at home.

Portland plays at home tonight against Orlando, then heads off for a six-game road trip.

Caron Butler scored 20 points and Blake Griffin added 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Clippers, who fell to 4-3 overall.


Phoenix brings Blazers back to Earth

After two big wins, Portland stumbles in the desert
Jan. 6, 2012

After wins over Western Conference heavyweights Oklahoma City and Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers ran into a team needing a big win of its own Friday night.

And Phoenix took advantage of its opportunity, beating the Blazers handily in Phoenix, 102-77.

Jared Dudley led six Phoenix players in double figures with 18 points and Steve Nash added 17 points and nine assists as the Suns improved to 3-4 overall.

Portland, which beat the Thunder on Tuesday and Lakers Thursday night, got 14 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, but only 21 points from the rest of the starting 5.

The Blazers fell to 5-2, 1-2 on the road. The Blazers play their next three games at home where they're 4-0, beginning with Cleveland Sunday night at the Rose Garden.



Portland's hot early-season play got national attention Thursday as the Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 at the Rose Garden on TNT.

Gerald Wallace scored a game-high 31 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 28 points and 10 rebounds as the Blazers improved to 5-1 on the season and remained the lone team in the Western Conference with one loss.

Jamal Crawford added 17 points and three assists.

The Blazers were outrebounded 47-39, outshot from the free-throw line by two points and even allowed the Lakers to shoot 46.8 percent from the field, but won by shooting 46.1 percent from the field, making five three-pointers to none and finishing with a 16-5 edge in points scored off turnovers.

Portland committed just four turnovers in the game.

Kobe Bryand led the Lakers with 30 points, and Andrew Bynum added 21 points and 12 rebounds. Los Angeles dropped to 4-4 on the season.

The Blazers play at Phoenix tonight, then play three home games in a row.



Portland moved into the Northwest Division lead with a 103-93 win over Oklahoma City Tuesday night on the Thunder's home court.

The Blazers broke free of a 66-all tie with a 6-0 run and led from there, improving to 4-1 on the season.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and eight rebounds to lead Portland.

The Blazers managed a 46-40 rebounding edge, shot 15 more free throws and outscored Oklahoma City 52-40 in the second half.

Oklahoma City got 23 points from James Harden and a combined 41 points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but lost fo the second consecutive night. The Thunder lost at Dallas Monday.

Portland has a night off before facing the Los Angeles Lakers (3-3) at the Rose Garden Thursday night. Tuesday's win put the Blazers atop the Western Conference playoff standings, although the other 14 teams are all within 2.5 games.


Clippers end Blazers' win streak

Portland rallies late, but falls at Los Angeles, 93-88
Staff Report / Jan. 1, 2012

LOS ANGELES - Portland's run to an unbeaten season ended Sunday with a 93-88 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Jamal Crawford scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Blazers cut a 17-point deficit to two in the final minute, but a Chris Paul lay-up with nine seconds left put the Clippers up 92-88 to secure the win.

Portland fell to 3-1 and will play at Oklahoma City Tuesday night.

The Clippers improved to 2-2.

Los Angeles got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Blake Griffin and 17 points and seven assists from Chris Paul in the win.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which had a 46-38 edge in rebounds.

Oklahome City enters Tuesday's game at 5-1, following a loss at Dallas Monday night. The Thunder have experienced open conflict between stars Kevin Durant, who scored more than 30 points per game in the team's first four games, and Russell Westbrook.

Aldridge powers Blazers to 2-0 season start

LA pours in 24 in rout of Sacramento

A night after scoring 25 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and eight rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past Sacramento 101-79 at the Rose Garden.

Gerald Wallace had 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists and blocked two shots as the Blazers improved to 2-0 heading for a home game with Denver Friday.

Portland trailed 44-32 with four minutes left in the second quarter, but finished the half on a 14-2 run and closed the game with a 31-14 run.

The Blazers made just 3 of 18 three-point attempts, but still managed to shoot 44 percent (38 of 85) from the field and had a 25-11 edge in assists.



Portland opened the 2011-12 season with a near-blowout, 107-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers Monday at the Rose Garden.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored a game-high 25 points and Gerald Wallace added 21 to lead the Blazers, who saw a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter dwindle to two in the final minute.

Portland got 13 rebounds and six assists from Marcus Camby and outscored Philadelphia 28-15 in points off turnovers.

The Blazers play host to Sacramento, which upset the Los Angeles Lakers Monday, Tuesday night.


Blazers slow down and lose

Utah pounds Portland with inside game, 92-89

Two days after the Portland Trail Blazers ran past the Utah Jazz, their fast-paced attack hit a speed bump at Energy Solutions Arena Wednesday night.

Utah pounded out a 52-40 advantage in rebounds, outscored the Blazers 38-30 inside the paint and beat Portland 92-89 in the second and final preseason game for both teams.

LaMarcus Aldridge led five Blazers in double figures with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but the team hit just 28 of 79 shots from the field (35 percent), including 7 of 22 from 3-point territory.

Utah got 17 points from C.J. Miles, who came off the bench and led the second team to a 56-30 edge over the Blazers' subs.

Portland has four days off before opening its season at the Rose Garden against Philadelphia Monday night.

Raymond Felton led the Blazers with 17 points and four assists. Wesley Matthews hit 3-of-5 3-point attempts and finished with 15 points and Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum had 12 points each.

Utah got 15 points and nine rebounds from Al Jefferson.


Portland races toward season opener with big win

Blazers beat Utah 110-90 behind big first quarter
By Cliff Pfenning,

The Portland Trail Blazers showed off their explosive side Monday night with a dazzling first quarter on the way to a 110-90 win over the visiting Utah Jazz in the NBA preseason opener for both teams.

Portland made seven of its first nine shots and led 32-19 after the opening 12 minutes before a crowd of nearly 20,000 at the Rose Garden.

Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 17 points, while Nicolas Batum added 13 points and four rebounds. Jamal Crawford, in his first action in Portland, had eight points and seven assists.

Utah got 25 points from second-year forward Derrick Favors.

The Blazers had four players with three or more assists on the way to 25 in the game.

LaMarcus Aldridge sat out, but is likely to play when the teams meet in Utah Wednesday.


Blazers begin quest to gel against Utah

Portland faces the Jazz Monday in preseason game

A vastly different line-up will get its first chance to impress local fans when the Portland Trail Blazers play host to the Utah Jazz Monday at the Rose Garden.

In the past 10 days, the Blazers waived three-time All-Star Brandon Roy after he announced his retirement and added Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford as well as Craig Smith. And Greg Oden? Still injured.

As the team heads into the Utah game, one of two preseason games, it has just one of its long-term core players from two years ago: LaMarcus Aldridge. The team acquired small-forward standout Gerald Wallace from Charlotte at the close of last season and got point guard Raymond Felton from Denver. Shooting guard Wesley Matthews came to Portland from Utah last season to fill in behind Roy, but became a starter when Roy went down with injury midway through the season. Center Marcus Camby has been with the team for several years, but is at the close of his career.

Of the Blazers who figure to be key players this season, only Aldridge was drafted by the Blazers.

Portland's likely starters for their Dec. 26 season opener against Philadelphia:

PG: Raymond Felton

SG: Wesley Matthews

SF: Gerald Wallace

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge

C: Marcus Camby

6TH: Jamal Crawford

Following their game with the 76ers, the Blazers play host to Sacramento and Denver before going on the road to play the Los Angeles Clippers.



Crawford, Smith sign, boost Blazers' depth

The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year, and veteran forward join team
Staff Report

Journeyman guard Jamal Crawford, the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year last season, signed a free-agent contract with the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday, giving the team a solid addition in its drive to reach the NBA Playoffs for a fourth-straight year.

Crawford, 31, averaged 14.2 points and 3.2 assists in 76 games last season for the Atlanta Hawks, coming off the bench in each of the games. Crawford, who made $20 million the past two seasons, has been a reserve for the Hawks the past two seasons after being a regular starter for most of his career.

In 11 years, Crawford has averaged 15.4 points, 3.9 assists and 32 minutes per game.

Crawford, who is from Seattle, Wash., signed a two-year deal worth $10 million.

The Blazers announced they had waived Brandon Roy using the Amnesty Clause constructed within the new labor agreement that allows teams to remove the salary of one player from their payroll used for salary cap purposes. The Blazers are still responsible for Roy's salary.

Portland also signed free agent forward Craig Smith Thursday. 

Nicknamed "The Rhino," Smith played with the Los Angeles Clipper the last two seasons, averaging 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 48 games.

Smith, a five-year veteran, has also played for Minnesota.

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