for this game

Blake leads streaking Blazers to another win

Jan 10, 2008 - 6:50 AM PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- In a matchup of two emerging Western Conference clubs, Steve Blake gave the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers an unexpected boost.

Blake scored a season-high 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 as the Trail Blazers secured their 17th win in their last 18 games with a 109-91 rout of the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

Martell Webster and James Jones scored 16 points apiece for Portland, which won its 12th straight home game and moved into sole possesion of first place in the Northwest division.

"The winning feels great but we got to keep pushing forward," Blake said. "We've got to try and stay in first and just continue to remember what got us here."

It has been a surprising run for the young Blazers, who were not expected to be this good this quickly, especially with No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden out for the season after knee surgery.

"We are not the same young team that started the year," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We're more controlled in what we do. We're confident and we expect to win games."

But Portland has gotten help from a variety of sources this season, most notably reigning Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, who scored just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting on Wednesday night.

"That's why we are so good - anyone can step up at any given night," Aldridge said. "If B-Roy or myself don't have it going, we've proven that we are a complete team and you have to respect everyone we have. Tonight, it was Steve."

The team's leading scorer, Roy was hampered by a bruised tailbone suffered in Saturday's victory over the Utah Jazz. He left with the injury in the first quarter of that contest.

Roy suffered another scare in this one, leaving the game with 1:21 left before halftime after landing awkwardly and apparently twisting his right knee. He returned to the game in the second half but could not find the range.

"It scared the (heck) out of me," Roy said. "My foot got caught when I was falling and I said, 'Uh Oh.' And then the pain. I don't know what I did but (my knee) was numb. Then I was thinking not right now. We're playing great and this is happening. It was a scary moment."

Instead, backcourt mate Blake - normally a distributor - had the touch from the outside, shooting 8-of-10 from the field, including 5-of-6 from the arc. Portland was 13-of-28 on 3-pointers in the game.

"It was one of the moments where you feel like everything is going in," Blake said. "My teammates did a good job of recognizing I had a good feel, and they had confidence in me. They were able to find me and set good screens for me."

Blake left the game as well in the third period after catching Monta Ellis' knee to the left calf. He didn't return to the game and fell one point shy of his career high.

"That's the way the game is," Blake said. "It's pretty sore but nothing I can't handle. It would have been nice to get a couple more shots, but that's the way it was meant to be."

A team that relies heavily on long-distance marksmanship, Golden State could not keep up from the arc, nailing just 8-of-29.

As a result, the hot-shooting Blazers blitzed the Warriors early, taking a 30-14 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

"We came out strong and we applied pressure and we tried to take them out of what they wanted to do," Aldridge said. "I think we started out ahead 17-4 and we able to sustain it until the end. It shows we can play with a lead as well."

Baron Davis, who collected 34 points and 14 assists in Monday's victory over the San Antonio Spurs, had just four points on 1-of-6 shooting for Golden State, which has lost three out of four.

"There was just nothing there," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It happens and it happened tonight. It's not the worst thing in the world this time of year. It's hard to accept, but we have to put it behind us and use it as a positive."