Trail Blazers make it six in a row
The Portland Trail Blazers have won six straight overall and are 6-0 on the road, so coach Nate McMillan had plenty to be happy about even in a game that wasn’t pretty.
“We made plays,” McMillan said after an 80-74 victory over Charlotte. “We got stops when we needed to. We’re scoring when we need to. We’re finding ways to win.”
Brandon Roy scored 25 points for the Blazers, and Andre Miller added 15 as Portland closed the first half with an 18-2 run against the cold-shooting Bobcats. Roy had nine points in the run, which was fueled by eight straight Charlotte misses.
“Once one dropped for me, I kind of got into a good rhythm,” Roy said. “I think it got the guys going just a little bit.”
While Roy and the Blazers found their rhythm, the Bobcats struggled on their way to a fourth straight loss. Point guards Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin missed 15 of their first 18 shots before Felton canned a pair of jumpers in the game’s final minutes.
“It’s not falling,” Felton said. “We need somebody to have that breakout, no matter who it is.”
Charlotte (3-6) was held below 80 points for the fifth time this season.
The Blazers’ run at the end of the half turned around a 28-20 Charlotte lead and continued into the third quarter, when Portland eventually increased its advantage to 51-35.
“We’re up 28-20, come down on a break and Raja (Bell) has an open 15-footer,” Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. “Then, the next thing I know, they have a 16-point lead.”
Charlotte’s Boris Diaw, who had a team-high 21 points, scored 11 in a rally late in the third quarter that helped the Bobcats close within 55-51. But the Bobcats never got closer.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge said the Blazers overcame a poor offensive performance with a great defensive effort.
“Our guys didn’t shoot it well,” said Aldridge, who was involved in a skirmish that resulted in five players receiving technical fouls. “We believed whoever played the best defense tonight would win the game. And we did.”
With 55 seconds remaining in the game and Portland leading 73-68, the Blazers missed a shot and players scuffled for the rebound. That’s when the altercation broke out, as Aldridge and Bell became tangled up. Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace and Tyson Chandler quickly joined in, as did Roy.
“He just (el)’bowed me on purpose,” Aldridge said of Bell. “He knew I was right there. He looked at me and he bowed me.” I think that’s probably the maddest I’ve been.”
McMillan defended his player.
“For LaMarcus to get upset like that, somebody did something dirty,” McMillan said. “For him to respond that way (somebody) did something they shouldn’t have done.”
NOTES: Blazers forward Travis Outlaw suffered a stress fracture in his left foot during the first quarter. Outlaw entered the game third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.9 points. Team officials said he could miss 6-8 weeks. Brown said he was happy to see former Bobcat Juwan Howard, who’s now playing with the Blazers. “He’s the ultimate pro,” Brown said. “His work ethic, his character, everything about him and the way he conducts himself. If you’re going to write a book on how to respect the game, he’s the poster child.”