Welcome Back

Zach Randolph spent his first six seasons in Portland, blossoming into the team's best player even as the Trail Blazers slipped further and further from playoff contention.

In their first season without him, the Blazers are perhaps the NBA's mostsurprising team.

Randolph returns to Portland on Friday for the first time since the Blazers traded him to New York last summer, as the Knicks visit the Rose Garden looking to snap a three-game slide.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Portland -7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 191 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Portland -7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Randolph led the Blazers in scoring and rebounding three of the last four seasons, but they sent him and guards Dan Dickau and Fred Jones to New York during the draft for forward Channing Frye and guard Steve Francis. The move allowed Portland to unload Randolph's contract and create playing time for younger big men LaMarcus Aldridge and No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden.

"We felt like with Zach, he's a heck of a player," Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said the day of the trade. "... But with Oden and LaMarcus and Channing Frye we have a group of young guys we can build around. ... We felt we were going in a different direction."

If Portland (26-19) had known that Oden was going to miss the season due to a knee surgery, it might not have made the deal. But even without Oden and Randolph, the league's youngest team is just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the Northwest Division and a game out of being in position for its first playoff berth since the 2002-03 season.

The Blazers are 18-5 at home, although they'll be looking to rebound from their second loss in their last three games at the Rose Garden. They fell 84-83 to Cleveland on Wednesday, squandering a 14-point second-half lead and giving up the winning basket to LeBron James with less than a second left.

"This one hurts because we had control over it for much of the game," Blazers coach Nate McMillan told the team's official Web site. "It looked like we played that game not to lose, as opposed to continuing to attack and playing the game to win."

Portland also lost 89-79 to Houston last Friday in the opener of this six-game homestand, and has averaged just 84.3 points in the last four games - three of them losses. They're 1-2 on the homestand.

Against the Cavaliers, Brandon Roy had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Aldridge added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Despite Portland's recent offensive struggles, Roy and Aldridge are combining to average 36.5 points - more than 10 above their combined average last season, when Randolph led the Blazers with 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

Given New York's struggles this season, Randolph may wish he was still in Portland. The Knicks (14-31) appeared to have turned things around by winning four of six entering this week, but they've lost the first three games of their five-game road trip, allowing an average of 108.7 points.

In their 100-89 defeat to Utah on Wednesday, Jamal Crawford had 26 points while Randolph added 23 and eight rebounds. New York, though, couldn't overcome the loss of starters Quentin Richardson and Eddy Curry in the first quarter to flu-like symptoms.

Despite their problems on the defensive end, the Knicks have lost three road games in four days to teams in playoff position in the Western Conference by an average of only eight points.

"It's frustrating, but the one positive is I think we've played a lot better basketball the last three or four weeks," Crawford said. "A month ago, five weeks ago, these three games are games we lose by 25 or 30 points."

The Blazers and Knicks haven't met this season. They've split their season series each of the past four seasons, with New York winning 99-81 at Portland last January.

Randolph's last game in Portland on March 29 epitomized his career with the Blazers. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound power forward scored a career-high 43 points and added 17 rebounds, but the Blazers lost 96-92 to Memphis.

Randolph sat out the last 10 games of the season with a hand injury.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics improving Finals odds The Boston Celtics are showing signs that they want to be in the hunt to win the NBA Finals next season. Do oddsmakers feel the Celtics are...
Thumbnail Warriors re-sign Curry, Iguodala The Golden State Warriors are committed to keeping their championship team together. The team re-signed a number of players last week to improve their odds to...
Thumbnail Paul George joins the Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunderwon the Paul Georgesweepstakes last week. How has this impacted the team’s ability to win the NBA...
Thumbnail Rockets improve Finals odds After making a big splash this week, are the Houston Rockets making a push to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?

NBA Headlines

  • WASHINGTON (AP) A person familiar with the deal says that All-Star point guard John Wall has agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards that will start with...
  • SALT LAKE CITY (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Utah Jazz have reached agreements with Justin Zanik and David Morway to join the front office.
    Zanik returns to the Jazz ...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Cavaliers are promoting assistant general manager Koby Altman to be their full-time GM.
    Altman has been serving as the cl...
  • A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Pau Gasol has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
    The 7-foot Spaniard and the Spurs ca...
  • MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month's NBA draft.
    Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
    Brooks was ...

NBA Team Pages