Sonics Hit The Road
The Portland Trail Blazers have already run off the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. But if they want to remain in playoff contention in the difficult Western Conference, they'll have to put a stop to a different kind of streak soon.
The Blazers look to avoid their longest skid of the season Thursday when they host the Seattle SuperSonics in the first game of a home-and-home series between these Northwest Division rivals.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Portland -7 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at X total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on Portland -7 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Portland (28-25) and Seattle (14-38) had the top two picks in the NBA draft last June, and even though No. 1 overall selection Greg Oden has yet to play an NBA game due to injury, Portland emerged as one of the league's biggest surprises after winning 13 straight in December.
But the Blazers lost their fifth straight on Tuesday, 105-94 at home to Sacramento, and fell five games out of the West's final playoff spot.
Portland also lost five straight in November, but hasn't dropped six in a row since an eight-game skid to close the 2005-06 season. The Blazers are just 3-9 since going 20-4 from Dec. 3-Jan. 21.
"Whatever it is, we've got to try and get it back," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan, who played his entire 12-year career with Seattle and coached the Sonics from 2000-05.
McMillan was happy with his team's effort against the Kings, but the Blazers were still outshot and outrebounded, and All-Star Brandon Roy had just 11 points on 5-of-18 shooting playing through a chest infection.
"We didn't execute as well as we needed to, but I thought the intensity tonight was a little bit better than what we've seen," McMillan said.
Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster combined for 41 points off the bench, but Portland allowed 35 fourth-quarter points to Sacramento en route to its worst home loss of the season. The Blazers have dropped four of their last seven at the Rose Garden, where they are 20-7.
They beat Seattle there 89-79 on Christmas Day, the 11th win of their 13-game run.
"We've got less than 30 games to go and we've got to get back on one of those streaks and get our confidence back," Portland center Joel Przybilla said.
The Sonics might have a bit more confidence after erasing a 19-point second-half deficit in a 108-101 home win over Memphis on Tuesday. They played without leading scorer Kevin Durant, the second overall pick in last year's draft who was sidelined with the flu.
It's unclear if Durant, who is averaging 19.4 points and missed just his second game of the season, will be able to play Thursday.
Against Memphis, Earl Watson led Seattle with 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting and added nine assists. Wally Szczerbiak scored 24 points off the bench as the Sonics used a 16-3 run in the third quarter to get back in the game.
Seattle has won five of its last eight while playing with the knowledge that owner Clay Bennett is pushing to move the team to Oklahoma City. Last week, Bennett offered to buy out the Sonics' lease with the city of Seattle, but the $26.5 million proposal was rejected.
"There are a lot of things going on that are affecting our chances to win," Szczerbiak said. "We just need to faze out the distractions."
The Blazers and Sonics meet again Friday in Seattle.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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