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Dixon, Blake key Blazers win over Wizards

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- It was more about the start than the
opponent for Juan Dixon.

Dixon scored 20 points against his former team and the
Portland Trail Blazers held off the Washington Wizards 97-92 on a
snowy Sunday night.

It was his first start for the Trail Blazers, who signed him as
a free agent in the offseason.

"It's a lot of fun playing that starting role," he said.

Portland was hit with a snow and ice storm during the day, and
just a couple thousand fans -- at best -- braved the weather for the
game.

Portland, which led by as many as 17 points, snapped a
three-game losing streak.

Washington, which has lost five of six overall and five straight
on the road, cut it to 87-86 on Gilbert Arenas' 3-pointer with 2:45
left.

Dixon's jumper with 1:51 left put Portland ahead 91-86, and
former Wizards guard Steve Blake added a jumper and a free throw to
make it 93-86.

Dixon, drafted 17th overall by the Wizards in 2002, was picked
up by the Blazers in August. The Blazers later signed Blake after
Washington declined to match an offer sheet.

"It's just fun competing against my old teammates," Blake
said. "Those guys are my friends."

Blake, who also started against the Wizards, had 14 points. It
was the first time Blake and Dixon had started together since they
were at Maryland.

"It is always kind of nice to get a win against your former
team -- to kind of show them what they lost, you know?" Blake said.

The Blazers won despite being depleted by injury and illness.
Starting forward Darius Miles, averaging 18.2 points and 5.6
rebounds, had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee
on Friday and it is unclear when Portland will get him back.

Starting point guard Sebastian Telfair has a sprained ligament
in his right thumb and didn't play, and starting center Joel
Przybilla was out with the flu.

The Blazers took a 34-24 lead in the first half on Charles
Smith's dunk, and they held a 48-40 lead at the break.

The Wizards whittled away at the deficit, tying it at 49 on
Jared Jeffries' dunk. But Washington was unable to take over the
lead, and Portland answered with a 14-1 run to go up 63-50 midway
through the third quarter.

Arenas had 29 points for the Wizards, who opened a five-game
trip with a 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Antawn
Jamison had just seven points.

"We're so talented, this is crazy," forward Caron Butler said.
With all this talent -- we just keep falling short. It's tough. We
just fall a little short, miscommunication or a missed shot. It's
those kinds of things."

The Blazers were coming off a 111-99 loss to Seattle on Friday
night.

Washington didn't have guard Jarvis Hayes, who left the game
against the Lakers after a few minutes because of a sore right knee
and did not make the trip to Portland. He will be examined by team
doctors Monday.

Hayes missed much of last season, including the Wizards' playoff
run, with a fractured right kneecap. He has averaged 9.3 points in
21 games this season.

"You can't take anything away from Portland," Butler said.
"If we played with urgency we would have won this game. We need a
win."

Game notes
Washington had won three straight over Portland, including
a 96-89 victory earlier this season. ... The Wizards had won three
consecutive games at the Rose Garden. ... Because of the storm, the
team said it would honor tickets for Sunday night's game in
exchange for tickets to the Dec. 30 game against Memphis or the
Jan. 1 home game against the Clippers, based on availability.