Blazers Seek Sixth Straight Win, Host Raptors
Posted Dec 22 2006 6:10PM
The Portland Trail Blazers haven't been this hot in a long time.
They will try for their first six-game winning streak in four years Friday when they host the Toronto Raptors.
Portland (12-14) beat Houston 89-87 on Wednesday to win its fifth consecutive game for the first time since Feb. 18-24, 2004. The Trail Blazers have not won six in a row since an eight-game winning streak Dec. 14-30, 2002.
``We're going to continue to work and get better,'' center Joel Przybilla said. ``We can't be happy with our success right now, we've just got to keep winning.''
The Blazers also got a boost on Wednesday with the return of Brandon Roy. The rookie guard, last season's Pac-10 player of the year as a senior at Washington, had missed 20 games with a heel injury.
``Words can't explain it,'' said Roy, the sixth overall pick in the draft. ``I'm happy to be back out there.''
Roy, who said he felt about 90 percent, was averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 assists in five games before the injury. He had nine points in just under 24 minutes against the Rockets.
``We've been riding Zach (Randolph) for so long it's good to have someone on the court who can make plays,'' Portland coach Nate McMillan said. ``With Roy and (Jarrett) Jack in the game together, both of them ball handlers, it gives us some options.''
Randolph had 24 points and 13 rebounds for his 15th double-double this season. He is averaging a team-high 25.3 points - over 12 more than Jack, who ranks second - and 10.2 rebounds, more than five better than Przybilla's second-best average.
``It felt normal tonight,'' forward Ime Udoka said. ``It felt like we were going to win even when it got close. We're playing with confidence.''
Portland has won three of its last four games against the Raptors, including a 93-83 victory on Dec. 10 at Toronto. Randolph was suspended for that matchup after making an obscene gesture to fans in Indiana, but Jack had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Toronto's Chris Bosh, who leads the team with 20.5 points and 12.2 rebounds, missed the game with a bruised left knee and has yet to return.
In Wednesday's 98-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, the Raptors were also without rookie Jorge Garbajosa, who was nursing a strained right calf, and Jose Calderon, who missed his second straight game with a bruised lower back.
``Injuries are part of an NBA season,'' Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. ``You have to be able to stay mentally focused and tough. There are a lot of guys on the team playing with injuries that aren't complaining.
``Even though we had guys that weren't able to play it just shows how confident we are with each other and what type of organization this is.''
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