NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 14th
(All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (19-4) at Philadelphia 76ers (7-17), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge will lead the Portland Trail Blazers
into Philadelphia Saturday for the first of four straight games on the road.
Aldridge is coming off a dominating performance in Thursday's 111-104 victory
versus the Houston Rockets, but it wasn't optimistic at first. Aldridge missed
his first five shots and was 1-for-8 from the field to start the game, but
finished 12-of-22 from the floor en route to 31 points and 25 rebounds.
"This was a 'we needed a win' night for me," Aldridge said.
The 31 points and career-high 25 rebounds led Portland to its second straight
win and 17th in the past 19 games. Aldridge, whose previous career rebounding
high was 23, also had two blocks to become the first NBA player with at least
30 points, 25 rebounds and two blocks in a game since Chris Webber back on
Jan. 5, 2001.
Wesley Matthews scored 18 points and capped an 11-1 run on a three-point play
late in the game, Robin Lopez had 16 and 10 rebounds and Nicolas Batum netted
15 points in the win. Portland's 19-4 record marks its best 23-game start to a
season since going 21-2 to open the 1990-91 campaign.
"We're growing in confidence. I think we go into games with a certain level of
confidence, but at the same time, we realize that we're playing hard and our
success is because we're playing hard," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "It's
not coming easy. Our record is what it is, but it's not easy. You have to
compete every night. So I think the combination of confidence and just
competing is there every night."
The Blazers are 9-2 away from the Rose City and will also visit Detroit,
Cleveland and Minnesota on this road trip. They have scored 100-plus points in
10 straight games, the longest single-season streak since March 29-April 24,
1994 (13 games).
Philadelphia is back home at Wells Fargo Center after suffering a 108-100 loss
in Toronto Friday night. The Sixers have now lost 10 in a row on the road and
were led by Tony Wroten's 23 points. Evan Turner scored 21 points, Thaddeus
Young had 18 and Spencer Hawes provided 15 points for Philadelphia, which is
7-17 on the season after a 3-0 start.
Toronto made 10-of-25 3-pointers against the worst defense in the league.
"You got to give them credit. They made big shots and big 3-pointers," Sixers
head coach Brett Brown said of the Raptors. "But I'm happy with our effort."
The 76ers have lost a season-high five straight games and are 6-7 at home.
Sixers rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams missed his fifth straight game
with right knee soreness due to an infection and is out indefinitely.
Philly and Portland split two meetings a season ago, while the Blazers have
won three of four contests in this series. The Trail Blazers, who have lost
two in a row and four of five trips to the City of Brotherly Love, will host
the Sixers on Jan. 4.
12/14 10:31:34 ET