Portland,Or - Terry Porter helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to two NBA finals appearances in 10 seasons as their point guard. After having his Portland jersey retired, Porter returns to the Rose Garden on Thursday night.
The Blazers retired Porter's No. 30 on Tuesday night as fans gave a standing ovation to the man who played for Portland from 1985-95 and was a member of teams that reached the NBA finals in 1990 and '92. Porter, though, will be looking for the Phoenix Suns to continue their hot play at the expense of his former team, which has lost five straight to Phoenix at home..
Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Blazers -5 point spread favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Suns. Current NBA Public Betting Information shows that 64% of more than 217 bets for this game have been placed on the Blazers -5.
Phoenix (15-10) won for the fourth time in five games Monday, defeating New York and Porter's predecessor Mike D'Antoni 111-103 at home. Steve Nash had five of his 21 points in the final 56 seconds as the Suns scored at least 110 points for the fourth straight game.
After averaging 99.9 points in its first 20 games, Phoenix is scoring 113.0 per game in its last five - a style more characteristic of D'Antoni than Porter, known for his tough defense during his playing days. The Suns will be facing a Blazers team that's allowing 94.5 points per game - among the fewest in the league.
Nash was the catalyst for the wide-open offense that D'Antoni ran with the Suns, and despite the team's current scoring surge, he hasn't played up to his standards under Porter. The two-time MVP's season average of 15.5 points is his worst in four seasons, while his 8.3 assists per game are his fewest since averaging 7.3 with Dallas in 2002-03.
"To lose somebody that you worked so closely with and so positively with, who had a great relationship with the city and the fans,'' Nash said of D'Antoni, "it was an emotionally charged game by regular-season standards.''
Nash, though, is averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 assists in his last six games in Portland.
The Suns hit 44.8 percent from the field against New York. They lead the NBA in shooting at 49.8 percent.
After missing two games due to a death in the family, center Shaquille O'Neal had 23 points and 12 rebounds against the Knicks. He's shooting 59.7 percent this season, second in the NBA.
In three games in Portland last season - two with the Suns - O'Neal averaged 10.0 points and 12.7 rebounds.
Suns forward Amare Stoudemire, who had 21 points and 14 boards Monday, averaged 20.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in wins over Portland on Nov. 1 and 22.
In his first start since being acquired from Charlotte on Dec. 10, Jason Richardson had 16 points and seven rebounds versus New York. He's averaging 20.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his last seven games in Portland.
The Blazers (16-10) are coming off Tuesday night's 109-77 rout of Sacramento that snapped a three-game skid. Brandon Roy followed up a career-best 38-point night against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday by scoring 29 in three quarters against the Kings.
"I bounced right up and got ready to go out there,'' said Roy, who had his left knee drained before Tuesday's game and is also nursing a torn tendon in his right pinkie finger. "I'm not going to make any excuses while I am out there. I'm just going to play."
In his last home game against the Suns, however, Roy missed 11 of 14 shots and scored six points in a 111-98 loss March 18.
Joel Przybilla grabbed a team-high 14 boards Tuesday as the Trail Blazers held a 59-38 rebounding edge. Portland recorded its highest rebound total since it had 62 in a 89-87 win over Boston on Dec. 9, 2004.
Phoenix, meanwhile, is coming off its second-highest rebound total (52) of the season.
Posted: 12/18/08 1:30AM ET