Struggling Blazers get big home victory over Nets

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Juan Dixon gave Trail Blazers teammate Zach Randolph a nudge at halftime of their matchup with the New Jersey Nets.

"I told him, `Hey, you're a 20 and 10 guy, go out there and be aggressive," Dixon recounted.

Randolph listened, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half in Portland's 100-97 comeback victory over New Jersey on Wednesday night.

Portland trailed by as many as 14 points before Randolph's hook shot with 2:51 left put the Blazers ahead 92-90 for their first lead of the game. Randolph also had eight rebounds.

Richard Jefferson's layup narrowed it to 96-94 late, and three Blazers missed three straight shots until Randolph got fouled and made both his free throws to put Portland ahead 98-94.

"Every night is a fight for this team," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We are a team that is very young and just learning how to play. But I really like the progress we're making."

Vince Carter's layup and free throw got the Nets within one with 9.9 seconds to go, but Randolph made two foul shots with 8.8 seconds left to make it 100-97.

Carter and Jefferson missed 3-pointers as time ran out.

Carter had 35 points in New Jersey's third straight loss. Nenad Krstic scored 18 to pass 2,000 career points.

"If I can see it it's a good look," Carter said about his final shot. "I just tried to get enough room but Zach is a big guy and it was a little long."

Randolph said the Blazers won the game because they're a new team.

"It's a lot different. Last year we probably would have given up," he said. "This is a different team. Different players. Different attitude."

Jarrett Jack added 17 points for the Blazers.

New Jersey's losing streak, its longest so far this season, includes an 86-68 home loss to the Blazers on Saturday. The Nets lost to the Sonics 99-87 in Seattle on Monday.

The Blazers snapped a three-game losing streak with their victory at New Jersey, but lost 107-98 to San Antonio on Monday.

Portland was once again short-handed, with rookie Brandon Roy expected to miss about two more weeks with his heel injury. Center Joel Przybilla missed his 10th game because of a lower abdomen hematoma. He could return to practice next week. Raef LaFrentz remained out with a left calf injury.

"We've got a lot of pieces missing," Randolph said. "As soon as we get those guys back we're going to be a lot better."

Krstic took charge for the Nets with 14 first-quarter points. He now has 2,008 career points. His jumper gave New Jersey an early 24-10 lead.

The Blazers narrowed it to 42-41 on Travis Outlaw's 20-foot jumper with 4:21 to go in the first half. But Jason Kidd and Antoine Wright hit key 3-pointers to help New Jersey take a 57-44 lead at the break.

"Right now, I don't really have an explanation," Krstic said. "I think it was very similar to the Seattle game. We had the game but lost it in the last 6 minutes."

Game notes
Nets veteran Cliff Robinson sat out with a sprained left knee. ... The Blazers are 4-2 this season at the Rose Garden. ... Portland and New Jersey split last year's series 1-1. ... The Blazers are 28-4 all time against the Nets at the Rose Garden, the team's best winning percentage at home against any team. ... The Blazers are 3-0 in games in which they score at least 100 points.