for this game

Roy, red-hot Blazers upend sliding Jazz

Dec 15, 2007 - 7:18 AM By Kasey Postlewaite PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- Brandon Roy scored 29 points and Travis Outlaw added 21 as the Portland Trail Blazers posted their sixth straight win, a 99-91 victory over the struggling Utah Jazz on Friday night.

Reserve James Jones had 14 points for the Trail Blazers, who played their third straight game without their leading scorer and rebounder, second-year forward LaMarcus Aldridge (plantar fasciitis).

"Right now, our bench is giving us a huge lift every night," Roy said. "Travis Outlaw and James Jones have been the difference without question. With them and everyone else coming together, we've gotten ourselves in a little groove."

"They were double-teaming Brandon a lot, so somebody had to step up," said Outlaw, who has scored 20 or more points in five of the last six games. "I felt I had to step up and I was able to get open. It was just fun, and we were having a good time tonight."

It was the second meeting in four days between the two teams, with Portland getting the better of Utah, 97-89, on Tuesday. With Friday's loss, the Jazz now have lost six in a row.

"It seems to come down to the last four to five minutes," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said of the team's skid. "I felt like we had a chance to win all six of them. But for some reason, we can't win them. Maybe, we're making the wrong mistakes and not getting the right stops."

"I wouldn't call it desperation time," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We are not going to panic. Hopefully, our players do a better job of understanding what we have to do to get going again."

It was an uphill climb in this one for the Blazers, who opened the fourth with seven straight points to complete an impressive comeback en route to the victory.

A 16-6 run to start the third gave the Jazz a 70-59 lead, but the resilient Blazers fought back - scoring eight straight points to cut their deficit to four points going into the final period.

Jones nailed a 17-foot jumper to put Portland ahead, 75-74, and Outlaw followed with another jumper - prompting timeout by the Jazz early in the fourth.

"In the past, I think we have all been guilty of putting our heads down when another team makes a run," Roy said. "But ever since the Memphis game, no matter what, we come together and say, 'We're not going to let this happen.' I think teams might hit us with their best punch and expect us to fold, but we're not folding. We're coming back harder."

But Andrei Kirilenko's 15-foot jumper helped Utah recapture the lead, 78-77, with 6:30 remaining.

The teams then traded baskets for most of the rest final period until the Blazers took the lead for good, 87-86, on Outlaw's two free throws with 2:33 left. Portland won the free-throw battle the rest of the way.

"I'm seeing this group pull itself together and challenge each other," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Earlier, we couldn't recover from runs. Now, we have been able to rally back and win some games."

There is no doubt that the play of Outlaw and Jones have been huge contributors to the Blazers' best win streak in five years.

It was Outlaw's last-second shot at Memphis that started the streak, and Jones has done his part by connecting on 16 of his past 24 3-pointers.

"With the way Travis is playing right now, it's really given us another option down the stretch," McMillan said. "He's very confident in his shot right now and he's not hesitating. And James has just been great. I just wish he was healthier because he could do so much for us."

Despite shooting 10-of-17 in the first period, Portland led just 28-26 after one.

In the second, the Blazers inched their way to a 45-37 lead thanks in part to Outlaw and poor shooting by the Jazz. Outlaw scored eight points while the visitors made only 4-of-15 field goals during that span.

The Jazz responded by converting three straight times offensively, sparking a 17-6 run.C.J. Miles' layup capped it with 36 seconds remaining before Joel Przybilla ended the half with a putback dunk, bringing Portland to within one at 54-53.

Boozer had 22 points and 12 rebounds for his 18 double-double for the Jazz, who were without forward Mehmet Okur for the second straight game (back).








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    PORTLAND 99 FINAL

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