News » Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview 2009-10-30

Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview 2009-10-30

Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview 2009-10-30The Toyota Center has been a house of horrors for the Portland Trail Blazers since it opened for the 2003-04 season.

The Trail Blazers' only win there in 14 tries came when the Houston Rockets didn't have Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, and that will be the case Saturday night.

Portland will try to end a seven-game losing streak at Houston and spoil the Rockets' home opener as the teams meet for the second time in five days.

Houston (1-1) eliminated Portland (1-1) in six games in the first round of the playoffs last season, wrapping up the series with a 92-76 home victory. The Trail Blazers lost all five games at the Toyota Center last season.

Portland's lone victory in the arena was an 85-78 win April 6, 2007, with Yao and McGrady both sitting out.

That will be a familiar sight for Rockets fans in 2009-10. Yao is out for the season after undergoing foot surgery in May, and McGrady had microfracture surgery on his left knee last February and is sidelined until midseason.

These teams opened the season Tuesday in Portland with the Trail Blazers winning 96-87. Reserve Travis Outlaw scored 23 points and All-Star guard Brandon Roy shook off 5-of-18 shooting to add 20 as Portland overcame 26 turnovers - higher than any total it had last season.

The Rockets bounced back to gain a split of their season-opening road trip with a 108-107 victory over Golden State on Wednesday. Houston rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit as Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks each had double-doubles.

"We're trying to find out who we are," coach Rick Adelman said. "We're trying to find out how we're going to win. To come back and have a great third quarter, hopefully our team learned a lot."

Trevor Ariza heads into his home debut for Houston after scoring a team-high 25 points Wednesday. He bounced back from a 12-point effort in the loss to Portland.

Ariza was the biggest offseason acquisition for Houston after Ron Artest left to join the Lakers.

Portland fell 97-94 to Denver on Thursday. Roy scored 30 for the Blazers, who gave up 35 points in the fourth quarter.

"We felt we had control but it was one of those games where we were playing their pace and we just couldn't seem to separate," Roy said. "They made the plays down the stretch that they needed to to get the win."

Roy said he would speak to center Greg Oden on Friday after Oden missed two big free throws down the stretch.

"The biggest thing is to let go," Roy said. "We all miss shots, you've got to forget about it."

The Blazers also allowed the Nuggets to shoot 49 free throws after Houston attempted 29 in the opener.

"The free throw line - 49 free throws is a ton of free throws and we knew this was a team that was going to be attacking out there and getting to the free throw line and they did," coach Nate McMillan said.

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Added: October 31, 2009


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