Daily Confidential

Rookie Brandon Roy is helping the Portland Trail Blazers turn things around at the Rose Garden.

On Saturday he'll try and lead the Blazers to their first five-game winning streak in more than three years when they meet the Chicago Bulls for the first time this season.

Portland (20-28) was tied with Houston, New York and Toronto for the worst home record last season at 15-26. The Trail Blazers then started 2006-07 by losing 12 of their first 20 in front of the home fans.

But since a 109-93 home loss to Denver on Jan. 14, Portland has won four straight home games, thanks in large part to Roy. The former Washington star is averaging 21.3 points - 6.1 points better than his season average - and 7.5 rebounds during the streak.

Roy had another solid game Friday, scoring 22 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining, and had a career-high 11 assists. It wasn't enough as the Blazers fell to the Nuggets 114-107 in overtime.

In the extra frame, Portland allowed Denver to score 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.

"When you get into overtime, you've got to play some defense. You've got to get stops,'' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

Although it struggled late Friday, Portland has improved its defense during the home win streak. The Blazers are holding opponents to 90.0 points - 8.0 points below their season average.

Portland hasn't won five straight home games since a six-game run from Nov. 5-21, 2003, and its also had success there against the Bulls (27-20) lately. The Blazers are 6-1 in their last seven games when hosting Chicago, which is just 7-14 on the road this season.

The Bulls defeated Seattle 107-101 on Friday to improve to 1-1 on their season high-tying seven-game road swing. They've not won consecutive road games since a three-game streak from Nov. 25-Dec. 16.

Chicago nearly blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead Friday, but held off a late SuperSonics rally and scored 12 of the game's final 16 points. Luol Deng had 27 points and 12 rebounds, but struggled against the Blazers last season scoring a total of 17 points on 6-of-20 shooting. The teams split the season series.

Bulls center Ben Wallace made an unexpected return to the lineup Friday. He suffered a bruised right knee last Saturday in a home win over Miami, and missed Wednesday's defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener of the road trip.

The four-time NBA defensive player of the year started against Seattle, but wasn't a factor as he missed his only shot, had two rebounds and one blocked shot in 23 minutes.

"It didn't hurt, but I was trying too hard to protect it,'' Wallace said of his padded knee.

Coach Scott Skiles said trainer Fred Tedeschi is concerned Wallace may not yet be ready to play on consecutive nights, but Wallace said he will play this game. He had 25 points and 19 rebounds in two games against Portland last season while with Detroit.

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