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Red-hot Blazers keep Raptors on ice

3/1/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Raptors hope they can turn their
season around just like the Portland Trail Blazers have.

Rasheed Wallace scored 20 points Friday night as the Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to eight with a 91-81 victory over Toronto, the Raptors' 10th straight loss.

Damon Stoudamire added 19 points, and Dale Davis had 16 rebounds and 13 points for the Blazers, who have won five consecutive road games and 21 of 27 overall after a slow start.

Portland was 13-18 when Toronto handed the Blazers their season-high sixth straight loss on Jan. 2.

"Coach Wilkens had an interesting point after the game. He said, 'Just as easily as we got into this, we can get out of this," Toronto's Morris Peterson said.

Vince Carter, playing his third game since coming off the
injured list, scored 25 points for the Raptors, who are on their
longest losing streak in four years. They dropped 13 in a row from
March 20-April 12, 1998.

Toronto has lost seven straight at home to fall two games below .500 (29-31) overall. The Raptors fell to ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

"We're two games under .500 right now, yet we're still in the playoff race," Peterson said. "We have to look at the positive. We can get back to where we were."

Carter and co-captain Antonio Davis met for a couple of minutes
after the game. They discussed what they would say to their
teammates during practice on Saturday

"The last thing we want is for guys to feel that we don't have an opportunity. We still have an opportunity to do everything we set out to do," said Davis, whose team expected to contend for the Eastern Conference championship. "Until that opportunity diminishes completely, don't put you're head down, continue to fight as if we were still 10 games over .500."

Davis, who scored 21 points, made a jumper to cut Portland's lead to five early in the fourth quarter.

Stoudamire followed with a three-point play, and Wallace hit a
jumper to give the Blazers a 10-point lead with 9:27 left.

Derek Anderson's 3-pointer made it a 13-point lead with 5:43
remaining. Wallace followed with a jumper, and Ruben Patterson had a putback dunk to give Portland a 15-point lead -- its biggest lead of the game with 3:13 left.

"We all understand that you can run off five straight wins and you can lose five straight," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "At some point the Raptors will turn it around."

Wallace scored five points as Portland began the second quarter
on a 12-0 run to take an 11-point lead.

Toronto narrowed it to three by halftime behind Carter's 10
second-period points.

Game notes
Portland had 24 offensive rebounds compared to 10 for
Toronto. ... The Trail Blazers activated rookie forward Zach
Randolph and placed rookie center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje on the
injured list with a sprained left ankle. Randolph went on the
injured list Feb. 18 with a sprained right ankle. He is averaging
2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds.