Randolph drives streaking Blazers to fifth straight win

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Brandon Roy looked to the bench as
Portland's game against the Houston Rockets was winding down -- and
getting close.

"I thought, `Please leave me in, please leave me in," the
rookie said.

Roy, playing in his first game after missing the last 20 with a
heel injury, did stay in the game and hit a key shot with 19
seconds left as the Trail Blazers preserved their lead in an 89-87
victory Wednesday night.

"After a shot like that, it gives me confidence for the next
game," Roy said.

Zach Randolph had 24 points and 13 rebounds for his 15th
double-double this season as Portland won a fifth straight game for
the first time since February 2004.

The Blazers led by as many as 14 points before the Rockets got
within 78-75 on Luther Head's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Portland then stretched its margin to seven twice before Houston
threatened again on Rafer Alston's 3-pointer and Juwan Howard's two
free throws that made it 84-82 with 1:17 left.

Head missed a jumper with 41 seconds left that would have tied
the game.

Roy made a hook shot with 19 seconds remaining. Alston answered
with a layup with 15 seconds to go.

Jarrett Jack made two free throws but Alston again answered with
a 3-pointer that made it 88-87. Randolph was then fouled by Yao
Ming and made one of two free throws with .08 seconds left for the
final margin.

"It felt normal tonight," Portland forward Ime Udoka said.
"It felt like we were going to win even when it got close. We're
playing with confidence."

Yao finished with 34 points and nine rebounds.

"When you are behind the whole game and you come back in the
fourth this close and do not win -- it is not good enough," Yao

The Rockets were again without Tracy McGrady, who has missed
five games because of back spasms. Houston is 1-4 without him in
the lineup.

McGrady has been shooting again and could be back for Friday's
game in San Antonio.

Roy was averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 assists in five games
before the injury. He entered with 3:31 left in the first quarter
and made his first shot, a jumper with 2:32 to go. He finished with
nine points.

He says he's about 90 percent.

"I think the biggest thing was getting my legs," he said.

Alston had 20 points and Head added 17 for the Rockets.

The Trail Blazers went on a 10-3 run to close the first half
with a 44-34 lead. Randolph lingered on the court to give each of
his teammates a high-five as they retreated from the floor.

The Rockets went just 11-of-37 (29.7 percent) from the field in
the first half and finished 31-for-74 (41.9 percent).

Udoka's 3-pointer put the Blazers up 57-45. But the Rockets
started to find their offense -- Yao in particular. After scoring 13
points in the first half, he added 17 in the third quarter.

"They have some shot blockers on this team, (Joel) Przybilla,
(Travis) Outlaw. The are active inside," Yao said. "We did not
move them very well."

The Rockets had won nine of their last 10 against Portland.

Game notes
Randolph was on crutches Monday morning with a mild ankle
sprain. He said he woke up in the morning in pain, but did not know
how the sprain occurred. ... Rockets G Bonzi Wells, who had a
turbulent tenure with the Blazers, was booed loudly when he came in
for his new team.