News » A 10 . . . wins over .500


A 10 . . . wins over .500


A 10 . . . wins over .500
SUMMARY: Brandon Roy's 33 points and Travis Outlaw's big fourth quarter help Blazers reach key goal

A 10 . . . wins over .500

Blake back,

but forced

out early

JOE FREEMAN

LOS ANGELES --It took an offensive outburst from Brandon Roy, a scintillating fourth quarter from Travis Outlaw and an explosive, difference-making finish, but the Trail Blazers finally accomplished something that has eluded them for five seasons: They moved 10 games over .500.

The Blazers defeated the woeful Los Angeles Clippers 113-88 on Monday night before 16,570 at Staples Center, avenging a double-overtime loss to the Clippers in December while moving into fifth place in the Western Conference standings.

But more important, after failing in three tries this season --and seven the previous two seasons --the Blazers (27-17) achieved a minor benchmark, moving 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2002-03 season, when they finished 50-32 and made the playoffs.

Roy, who almost certainly will earn his second consecutive All-Star nomination later this week, finished with a game-high 33 points, making 11 of 15 field goals, including both of his three-point attempts.

Roy, who hadn't shot better than 50 percent in his previous four games, broke out of his mini-slump by sinking an array of midrange jump shots, driving layups and one highlight-reel, one-handed dunk over Cheikh Samb. Roy finished with 30 or more points for the sixth time this season and first since Dec. 27 against Toronto.

His solid shooting performance was part of an on-the-mark shooting night for the Blazers, who made 58 percent of their field goals (40 of 69) --their highest percentage of the season.

That it came against the sputtering Clippers (10-34), who played without four injured key players, including Baron Davis and former Blazer Zach Randolph, didn't matter for a Blazers team that overtook Houston in the Western Conference standings.

Outlaw, who made 8 of 9 shots, scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and was the catalyst behind a game-changing late run. The Blazers scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter and used an 18-2 run to build a 92-76 lead and pull away in the fourth.

Steve Novak, who finished with 21 points, had the only Clippers field goal in the first 6:25 of the fourth quarter as the short-handed Clippers, who had led by as many as five points, folded down the stretch.

Greg Oden, who shot 7 of 7 from the field, had another solid game, registering 16 points and six rebounds. The rookie center is averaging 17 points and 10.8 rebounds over his past four games.

But the news wasn't all good for the Blazers. Starting point guard Steve Blake, who had missed the previous five games with a separated right shoulder, attempted to play but did not make it out of the first half. Blake, who suffered his injury Jan. 14 in Philadelphia, wore a Lycra top under his jersey that contained a protective pad covering his right shoulder, but he aggravated his injury with 4:57 remaining in the first half and did not return.

Blake air-balled his only two field goal attempts, including one three-pointer, and finished with three assists and no points in more than 10 minutes. At the time of his diagnosis, Blake was expected to miss two to four weeks but returned after just 12 days.

Even though Blake missed most of the game, the Blazers improved to 11-12 on the road and 16-3 against teams with losing records.

Joe Freeman: 503-294-5183; joefreeman@news.oregonian.com To read his Behind the Beat blog, go to http://blog.oregonlive.com/ behindblazersbeat/


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 28, 2009

 

 
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