|NBA Basketball: Portland at Toronto|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Sunday, 10 December 2006 05:24|
Heavy Betting on Raptors at Home Today Against Randolph-Less Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers will be without their leading scorer and rebounder on Sunday as they try to avoid an eighth loss in nine games when they visit the Toronto Raptors.
After fouling out in Portland's 108-95 loss at Indiana on Friday, Randolph made an obscene gesture to Pacers fans. Blazers management responded by suspending him for one game
and fining him an undisclosed amount.
``I was frustrated there at the end of the game,'' said Randolph, who had 29 points and just four rebounds. ``That shouldn't happen, and I apologize for that and it won't happen again.''
Randolph, averaging 25.9 points and 10.2 rebounds this season, also was suspended for one game by the team in April for leaving the arena during a game against Golden State.
Other than Randolph, the Portland starters combined for 12 points on Friday. Second-year point guard Jarrett Jack, who averages 13.2 points, was held to six on 3-of-9 shooting and committed five of the team's 16 turnovers.
The Blazers, who own the second-worst record in the Western Conference, led by 11 at halftime against Indiana only to be outscored 35-14 in the third quarter. They gave up 66 points in the second half and allowed more than 100 for third time in four games.
``We are not mentally or physically strong enough to compete for 48 minutes,'' said Portland coach Nate McMillan, whose team has won three times in 15 games since starting 5-2. ``Defensively, we are not mentally coming out. We need to be more aggressive. I see youth and inexperience in this team.''
Toronto (7-12) has some of the same problems, but health has also been an issue.
Playing with a brace on his right knee and experiencing soreness in his left knee, Raptors leading scorer Chris Bosh was held to 13 points in a 93-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday. Bosh, averaging 20.5 points, was 5-for-14 from the field, but did grab 12 rebounds and said his sore knee was not a factor.
Forward Andrea Bargani (8.2 ppg), the top pick in the June draft, missed his first game Friday with a sore back, but the team is hopeful he can play Sunday.
Swingman Morris Peterson (12.4 ppg) returned after missing eight games with a partially torn tendon in his left elbow. He scored 13 points and missed a potential tying 3-pointer in the final 13 seconds against Chicago.
``I thought I got the best look that I could get,'' Peterson said. ``We still had another chance, another close one that we let slip away.''
The Raptors have lost their last two games by a combined seven points.
``We are playing better,'' Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. ``We gave ourselves a chance. The next thing we have to do is find a way to finish it.''
Toronto will look to win its fourth straight at home over Portland. The teams split their two games last season.
Peterson scored a game-high 22 points in Toronto's 114-81 home win over Portland in the teams' last meeting on Feb. 12.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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