Trail Blazers 90, Bucks 76
The Portland Trail Blazers bounced back from a tough loss with a big win.
Wes Matthews scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half to help the Portland Trail Blazers end their four-game road trip with a 90-76 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Brandon Roy added 17, LaMarcus Aldridge 14, Dante Cunningham 14, Andre Miller 12 and Armon Johnson 10 for Portland, which was playing its third game in four nights.
Coming into Tuesday's game, Portland had outscored its opponents 110-71 in the fourth quarter, winning the first three games. Monday night, they put up three more points than Chicago did in the final period, but that wasn't enough as the Bulls won 110-98.
If Milwaukee was counting on Portland to be down, that just didn't happen.
''Wesley came in and brought some energy,'' Portland head coach Nate McMillan said. ''Scrappy defensively, but offensively I thought he was aggressive tonight.''
The Trail Blazers fed off that drive and slowly turned the game around unlike their effort against the Bulls.
''I just thought we were connected tonight on both ends of the floor, where last night we seemed to be disconnected,'' McMillan said. ''Our execution wasn't good. Defensively, we were giving up boards. They (the Bulls) were the aggressors. Tonight, I thought we were the aggressors.''
They were defenders, too. Milwaukee finished the game shooting 37.5 percent (27 of 72) while Portland was 47.5 percent (38 of 80).
Andrew Bogut said that the Bucks had been in games where the team played better in back-to-backs, especially after a loss.
''They got blown out yesterday in Chicago, and they came out motivated,'' he said after scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds. ''They had something to prove tonight. They needed this win.''
Matthews was the first off the bench and had seven points in the first and then added nine more in the second quarter as he either slashed to the basket or hit from long range to shred the Bucks' defense.
''My teammates were finding me and I was able to make plays,'' he said. ''Brandon Roy is going to draw a lot of attention. LA (LaMarcus Aldridge) is going to draw a lot of attention. You've got to move and make the game easy for them. By doing that, you get open looks.''
McMillan had a good explanation for the how the team got it going.
''They weren't playing good basketball early and they got after each other,'' he said. ''They held each other accountable tonight. So it was them. They wanted this game. This is a very good road trip for us.''
Leading 47-45 at the half, Portland capitalized on the Bucks' poor shooting and porous defense to outscore Milwaukee 26-17 and take a 73-62 lead into the final quarter. It was the first time they led all season heading into the final period.
Corey Maggette led the Bucks with 16 points, half of them coming on not missing any of his eight free throws. He also had four of his shots blocked, three by Aldridge and one by Cunningham.
''We got outplayed, plus we weren't making shots,'' he said. ''We weren't making shots and that took away from a lot of our stuff.''
Milwaukee (1-3) was five for 21 from the floor in the third as Portland (4-1) took charge, shooting 12 of 21.
The Bucks opened the fourth with a back court violation, a pass off the backboard and an errant pass. Cunningham's dunk made it 80-64 with 9:25 left to play. Johnson hit Cunningham with a pass that he stuffed with his back to the hoop and then Johnson hit a long jumper that pushed the lead to 84-68 midway through the quarter.
Bucks head coach Scott Skiles, whose team plays in Boston Wednesday night, cleared the bench with 6:38 to go and Portland ahead by 16.
It looked like the Bucks might be able to take advantage of the Trail Blazers since Milwaukee hadn't played since their 98-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday sparked by Brandon Jennings's first career triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Carlos Delfino scored 11 of his 14 points in the first quarter to help Milwaukee build a 12-point lead, but the Trail Blazers and Matthews changed the momentum in the second and the Bucks never recovered.
''The Trail Blazers pretty much did whatever they wanted to offensively,'' Skiles said.
Marcus Camby had 13 rebounds for Portland and Aldridge had five of the team's eight blocks. The Trail Blazers are off to their best start since opening the 1999-2000 season 4-1.
Notes: The Bucks held a moment of silence for former Blazers player and assistant coach Maurice Lucas, 58, who died Sunday night after a battle with bladder cancer. He was a star forward at Marquette University for two years and led head coach Al McGuire's team to the NCAA championship game in 1974. During the 1976-77 season, Lucas and teammate Bill Walton led the Trail Blazers to the NBA championship. ... Portland had 13 turnovers and has turned the ball over fewer times than its opponent in each game this season, averaging 13.5 per game.