Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers were on the wrong end of a blown call
in their last game. Still, coach Nate McMillan feels his team has
bigger concerns than the referees.
The Blazers look to rebound from a rare loss at the Rose Garden
on Wednesday night when they close a three-game homestand against
the Houston Rockets.
With Portland leading by two in the final seconds, LaMarcus
Aldridge was called for goaltending as Oklahoma City All-Star Kevin
Durant drove to the basket. Aldridge and the Blazers (14-11)
vehemently argued the call, but the result was overtime and an
eventual 111-107 loss to the league-best Thunder.
Portland, 11-2 at home, had won its previous five against
“It’s tough. We definitely played well enough to win this
game,” Aldridge said after hitting all 11 free throws and scoring
a season-high 39 points. “We had some tough calls and then we had
some bad bounces late in the game. We have to learn from it.”
The NBA announced on Tuesday that Aldridge made a good block and
that there shouldn’t have been a goaltending call, but McMillan
isn’t going to dwell on the play. What bothers him even more was
his team getting dominated on the boards by 20.
“Regardless of that call, we’ve got to rebound,” said McMillan,
whose team also missed 15 of 20 from 3-point range.
The Blazers were outrebounded 54-46 in a 107-105 overtime loss
in Houston on Jan. 14. Aldridge sent that game to overtime with an
18-footer with 23 seconds left in regulation, but Rockets leading
scorer Kevin Martin closed out a 28-point performance by scoring
his team’s final six points.
Martin, though, enters this contest with just 10 total points on
2-for-19 shooting in the last two games after scoring eight in
Monday’s 99-90 victory at Denver.
The Rockets (14-11), though, improved to 1-1 on a season-high
six-game trip behind 25 points from Luis Scola and 20 from Kyle
“Anytime you can get a win on the road it’s huge,” Chase
Budinger told the Rockets’ official website after scoring 14 of his
16 after halftime.
Houston snapped a four-game losing streak in Portland in its
last visit, posting a 103-87 victory on March 1.
Lowry, who had 21 points and 11 assists in that game, could be
matched up with Jamal Crawford to start Wednesday’s game if Blazers
starting point guard Raymond Felton misses a second straight game
with a sprained left foot.
It’s uncertain if Portland center Marcus Camby, who had 15
rebounds on Monday, will be ready after missing Tuesday’s practice
with bronchitis. He was sidelined last month in Houston with a
sprained left ankle.
Nicolas Batum, a Rockets first-round pick in 2008, hit six 3s
and scored a team-high 29 points off the bench for Portland in that
matchup. The French forward has 46 points and has hit 10 of 21 from
long range in two games after missing two with an injured knee.
The last time the Blazers lost two straight at home was Feb. 27
to Atlanta and March 1 to Houston.