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Blazers hope to end slide in meeting with Celtics
(Sports Network) - Mired in a season-high seven-game losing streak, the Portland Trail Blazers will begin a four-game homestand Sunday night versus the road-weary Boston Celtics at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers have dropped at least six in a row on two occasions this season and their current slide continued with a 111-107 loss to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night in Tinseltown.
Bryant scorched Portland for 40 points and Dwight Howard tallied 19 points and 16 boards. The Trail Blazers were led by J.J. Hickson's 22 points and 11 rebounds and still shot a decent 48.9 percent.
Nicolas Batum and rookie Damian Lillard added 22 and 19 points, respectively.
"I was glad the way our team fought," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We've had a rough stretch and came out and played aggressively, we pushed the tempo and did a lot of good things out there. I thought we played well enough to win the game but unfortunately we didn't."
Portland has given up 100 or more points six times during the seven-game losing streak, which matches a similar skid at the end of last season's truncated schedule. The Blazers haven't sustained an eight-game drought since closing out the 2005-06 campaign with eight setbacks in a row (4/7-4/19).
The Blazers are 17-9 as the host and will entertain Denver, Minnesota and Charlotte on the residency.
Boston will resume its five-game western jaunt and improved to 1-2 on the swing with Friday's 113-88 bashing of the Phoenix Suns.
Jeff Green had a game-high 31 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five blocks for a Boston team that had lost two in a row and three of four games. The Celtics were able to improve to 9-3 in the past 12 games and received 14 points and eight rebounds from Chris Wilcox.
"He's a matchup nightmare," Boston coach Doc Rivers said of Green. "At (small forward) he can post you, at (power forward) he has speed, and when he's making his jumper like he was making it today, it's pretty much a tough night for whoever's guarding him."
Avery Bradley and Jason Terry each scored 13 points, while newly-acquired guard Jordan Crawford ended with 10. Crawford was dealt to Boston from Washington prior to the NBA trade deadline.
The Celtics had been 0-7 on the road against teams from the West and pushed their overall record as the guest to 9-17. They also halted a three-game road losing streak and will wrap up the junket Monday at Utah.
Boston handed Portland a 96-78 setback on Nov. 30 this season with Green posting 19 points off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge paced all players with 23 points and eight rebounds in that one for the Blazers, who have lost six straight, 13 of 14 and 15 of the last 19 meetings with the Celtics.
Boston has won two straight and five of its last six trips to the Rose City.
02/24 10:52:52 ET
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