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News » Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2009-01-30


Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2009-01-30


Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2009-01-30
The Trail Blazers have a 3-1/2-game cushion over third-place Utah in the Northwest Division race as they approach Saturday's date with the Jazz at the Rose Garden. The Blazers are taking nothing for granted, however.

"Every game is big for us," Portland's Brandon Roy said. "We haven't been to the playoffs yet. We're approaching these games with a must-win sense."

Utah, which won both of its earlier games against Portland in Salt Lake City, will be going Saturday without injured star Carlos Boozer and in the second of back-to-back games after facing Oklahoma City Friday night.

The Jazz "need a win (Saturday). They'll be coming off back-to-back, and they have guys out," Roy said. "We have to do a good job of taking advantage of that."

A key matchup will be at point guard, where Sergio Rodriguez will start for Portland against Utah's Deron Williams.

"I'm excited to play against him," Rodriguez said. "Everybody wants to play against the best, and he's one of the best. It's going to be a big challenge for me and for the team."

TRAIL BLAZERS 84, BOBCATS 74: Portland broke the game open with a 17-0 run in the first and second quarters to seize a 36-18 lead. Charlotte (19-27) never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way as the Blazers (28-17) churned out their third straight win to move within 1-1/2 games of Denver (30-16) in the Northwest Division.

Charlotte, playing without injured star Gerald Wallace and a night after beating the L.A. Lakers in double-overtime, was left with an empty tank against the Blazers. Portland took advantage with pressure defense and even some transition offense -- at least in the first half, when they scored 10 fast-break points en route to a 56-40 lead at intermission.

The Bobcats "played last night and got in here late, so we wanted to keep the pressure on them both ways," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We wanted to make them work to get back (on defense), and we wanted to set the tone defensively -- picking up, pressuring, making them work for everything."

Charlotte shot only .414 from the field and equaled a season scoring low.

The Blazers "came out with a lot of energy, they executed ? they had a great first quarter, and basically, that was it," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "It was tough, but it was because they played so well. The second half, we battled like crazy, we defended well -- we just had a hard time scoring. They just played better. They were really good."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

 

 
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