PORTLAND, Ore., March 19 (Ticker) -- It might be snowing in the Rocky Mountains, but the Houston Rockets got buried in the Pacific Northwest.

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One night after losing in Seattle, the Rockets fell flat in the fourth quarter and suffered a 94-83 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Rockets struggled to mount any offensive attack in the final quarter, making just three baskets in the first nine minutes. Houston could not get the ball to 7-5 rookie center Yao Ming, who took just one shot during that span.

"I think our biggest problem was not offensive but more defensive," Yao said through an interpreter. "I don't care how many times I touch the ball."

While Yao may not care, the Rockets might be concerned that they did not find a way for him to get more touches on a night when he shot 5-of-9 from the field.

"We got to just trust each other and make the extra pass," said Houston assistant coach Larry Smith, who is guiding the team while Rudy Tomjanovich recovers from a cancerous tumor in his bladder. "So far, the last two ballgames, we have not done that. Until we do that, we will continue to struggle."

After shooting 53 percent (29-of-55) from the field through the first three quarters, the Rockets shot just 35 percent (6-of-17) down the stretch.

"I don't think it was a problem of being tired," Yao said. "If we knew what the problem was, then maybe we would have won the game."

The Rockets, who had their five-game winning streak stopped in Seattle as they started a five-game West Coast trip, could not find a hot shooter to bail them out down the stretch.

"The last two games is like we are back to where we were in the beginning of the year and where we were before those five games," said Maurice Taylor, who shot 1-of-3 in the fourth quarter. "We are not coming out with intensity, and teams are getting big leads on us. You can't live like that if you are trying to make the playoffs."

The Rockets remained tied with the Phoenix Suns for eighth place in the Western Conference at 35-32. The teams are just 2 1/2 games ahead of Golden State, which beat Seattle.

Derek Anderson hit a jump shot from beyond the foul line with 2:40 left to cap a 10-4 spurt that gave Portland an 89-76 lead. Anderson had given the Trail Blazers some momentum by hitting a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer for a 72-66 advantage.

"DA was playing well," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He never came out the whole second half. I think if someone out on the court is playing well, you leave them out on the floor and you let the rotations take care of themselves."

Anderson led five Blazers in double figures with 21 points. Zach Randolph added 14 off the bench for Portland, which won its third straight home game.

"I'm looking to score, just taking my time and get it to the hole because I know if I take my time I can score on anybody," Randolph said. "That's what coach told me to do and that's what we need on this team."

Steve Francis paced the Rockets with 17 points. Taylor added 14 off the bench and Yao had 11.

Yao grabbed nine rebounds, but Houston was outrebounded, 37-28.

The Blazers shot 53 percent (39-of-74) from the field, including 7-of-13 by Anderson and 6-of-10 from Bonzi Wells off the bench. Wells scored five of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Anderson shot 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, collected seven assists and grabbed five rebounds.

The start of the game was delayed as President Bush made his address regarding the beginning of military action in Iraq.

"You realize what those people are doing for you," Portland guard Antonio Daniels said. "It doesn't make basketball really a top priority. You have people over there who are defending for you and some even dying for you. Something like this really puts it all in context."