Trail Blazers-Nets Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers have won five straight over the New

Jersey Nets, and are 4-1 against Eastern Conference opponents.

That bodes well for the Trail Blazers at the start of this

four-game trip Sunday night when they take on the Nets.

Portland (8-7) is seeking to avoid its first three-game slide

since Jan. 25-29. The Trail Blazers got leading scorer Brandon Roy

back Friday, but his return wasn’t enough in a 97-78 loss to New

Orleans.

Roy had 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting as he showed no ill

effects of a knee injury that occurred in a 107-87 road loss to the

Hornets on Nov. 13.

“I felt like I had a pretty good rhythm,” Roy told the Trail

Blazers’ official website. “Legs got kind of heavy there at times,

but for the most part, I felt like I was able to get some good

looks and I made some shots.”

Roy wasn’t the problem Friday as the rest of the Trail Blazers

combined to shoot 35.7 percent.

“They did a good job reading our plays,” Roy said. “They took

certain plays away from us.”

Portland expected to get center Joel Przybilla back from a

ruptured patella tendon, but the 7-footer’s return was delayed

because of the stomach flu. The Blazers were outrebounded 48-27

without him.

Przybilla is listed as questionable for the opener of a stretch

of four games against teams from the East.

“We’ve just got to do more, if that’s possible,” coach Nate

McMillan said. “The hustle game, knocking down our shots, making

plays. We’re good in certain areas for a quarter or two, but

nothing consistent.”

Portland has outrebounded New Jersey (5-11) in every game of

this win streak. Roy is averaging 23.4 points on 52.1 percent

shooting in that span to lead the Trail Blazers.

The Nets are back home after falling 102-86 at Philadelphia on

Saturday. Brook Lopez scored 25 points and Devin Harris added 19

for the Nets, who shot 40.7 percent.

“It was a tough loss for us,” coach Avery Johnson said. “They

turned up the pressure on their defense. We couldn’t score or

defend in the fourth quarter, which has been a problem for us

recently. They made shots.”

Johnson holds the highest winning percentage (83.3) among active

head coaches with a minimum of 10 games against the Trail Blazers,

compiling a 10-2 mark while coaching the Dallas Mavericks.

Nets forward Travis Outlaw will face his former team for the

first time. Outlaw was selected 23rd overall in the 2003 draft by

Portland, and never averaged more than 13.3 points in his six full

seasons with the Blazers.

Outlaw had been a bright spot for New Jersey, earning a starting

job and averaging 15.1 points in seven games from Nov. 9-20. He’s

totaled 18 points, however, in his last three contests.

Lopez is seeking his first victory over Portland after averaging

22.0 points on 60.3 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds in four

losses.