3:00 PM ET, December 30, 2007
Moda Center, Portland, OR
Outlaw, a reserve, was 1-for-7 from the floor for the first three quarters, but took over in the fourth as the Blazers went on a 21-0 run to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 97-72 on Sunday for their league-leading 13th straight win.
The Blazers haven't made the playoffs since 2002-03, and they started this year like other recent editions of the team, putting together four and five-game losing streaks before doing something very different. Here are the longest win streaks and losing skids in the the Blazers' past five seasons.
|* -- And counting.|
Outlaw finished with 12 points, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter. And it's becoming a familiar pattern for the 6-foot-9 forward, who seems to always jump out to a slow start, but still ranks third on the Blazers with an average of 14.6 points during the streak.
"I always tell Travis at the beginning of the fourth quarter that it's a new game: 'Come out and do what you do,'" Roy said. "He's tough to guard because if you put somebody small on him he can shoot right over the top and if you put a big man on him he can drive around him. Travis really gives us a threat in the fourth quarter."
Roy had 22 points to lead the Blazers to their second-longest winning streak in team history. Portland won 16 straight in the 1990-91 season.
Trailing 63-59 in the third quarter, the Blazers went on (18-12) to hold the 76ers scoreless over the next 8:21. Philadelphia scored just nine points in the fourth quarter.
Outlaw sealed the game with an acrobatic dunk, bringing his arm around 180 degrees over Rodney Carney and stuffing the ball to make it 82-66.
Outlaw said the last time he tried to dunk on Carney he got blocked.
"I thought, 'Oh no, here we go again,'" Outlaw said. He joked that he'd probably replay tape of the play "about 30 times."
The Blazers will try to extended the streak on Monday when they visit the Utah Jazz, but they'll be without coach Nate McMillan, who is attending a funeral. Assistant coach Dean Demopoulos will take over in his absence.
The youngest team in the NBA, Portland started its run with a Dec. 3 victory at Memphis after going 5-12 to start the season. Ten of the team's 13 victories have come at the Rose Garden, where the Blazers are 15-3.
"I don't think I've been with a team that's done this," McMillan said. "This is difficult to do in this league, to go on this type of streak."
The Blazers led by as many as five points in the first half until Louis Williams' 3-pointer for Philadelphia tied it at 25. The 76ers could not pull ahead and Portland re-took the lead with Channing Frye's layup and Sergio Rodriguez's 3-pointer.
Philadelphia was undeterred, going on a 14-2 run -- capped by Iguodala's dunk -- to lead 45-36 at the half.
Miller, who went 0-for-6 from the floor in the first quarter, had 11 points in the second for the 76ers.
Philadelphia pushed its lead to as many as 11 in the third quarter, but the Blazers chipped away, closing to within 61-59 on Blake's 3-pointer.
After Williams made a layup for the 76ers, Jones made three straight free throws for Portland to narrow it to 63-62 at the end of the third quarter -- the first points of the 20-0 run.
Roy, last season's NBA Rookie of the Year, has scored 20-plus points in 10 of the Blazers' games during the streak, and has been honored as the NBA's player of the week twice during the span.
The current streak surpasses a 12-game winning streak the team had in 2001-02. Current 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks was head coach for Portland at the time.
"They're a great bunch, this is a great place to play and a great place to coach," Cheeks said. "If you've got good guys and you're playing good basketball, it's going to be like this."
Gordan Giricek, who was traded to the 76ers on Saturday by the Utah Jazz for Kyle Korver, was with the team but didn't play. Giricek had fallen out of favor with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. He averaged 4.3 points in 22 games for Utah this season and has a career average of 9.8 points in six seasons.
The Blazers honored team founder Harry Glickman during the game as part of a season-long celebration of the team's history. Glickman, who retired in 1994, said he was encouraged by the way the young Blazers were bringing back fans that had fallen away during the so-called "Jail Blazers" era. "I think they're pointed in the right direction," Glickman said. "They've done a good job in turning it around." ... Rodney Carney made his fourth straight start for the 76ers.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||30-78 (.385)||36-76 (.474)|
|3PM-3PA||4-13 (.308)||9-20 (.450)|
|FTM-FTA||8-10 (.800)||16-20 (.800)|
|Fast Break Points||13||4|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (4/0)||16 (0/0)|