Monday , Mar , 22 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets and Blazers square off in Portland

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – The struggling Houston Rockets will attempt
to snap a three-game losing streak tonight, when they travel to Portland to
face the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.

Houston has suffered through its current woes on the heels of a five-game
winning streak. The Rockets remain entrenched in the seventh spot in the
Western Conference — 3 1/2 games behind sixth place Memphis and four games
ahead of eighth place Utah.

The Rockets dropped a 100-95 decision to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday
evening. Maurice Taylor paced the Rockets with 23 points, as Houston lost its
ninth in a row at Sacramento. Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley chipped in 17
and 16 points, respectively, for the Rockets.

Mark Jackson posted 13 points, 11 boards and eight assists in the loss.
Yao Ming posted 11 points and Clarence Weatherspoon chipped in 10. Recent
roster addition Charles Oakley saw just one minute of action in the contest.

Houston lost its fourth straight to the Kings after winning the previous two
meetings in the series.

The Rockets, who are closing out a three-game road trip tonight, have dropped
four of five and six of their last eight road tilts. For the season, Houston
is just 13-23 in foreign buildings.

Portland took advantage of the helpless Orlando Magic Saturday night, tallying
a 92-73 win at the Rose Garden.

Derek Anderson scored a game-high 24 points to lead Portland to the victory.
Zach Randolph had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have
won five of their last six games to pull within 1/2 game Utah for the final
playoff spot in the West.

Theo Ratliff added 14 points in the win, while Shareef Abdur-Rahim chipped in
10 points. The Blazers hit 49.4 percent from the field, including 40 percent
from three-point range (6-of-15).

Portland survived 18 turnovers, while limiting Orlando to just 31.5 percent
from the field. The Blazers outrebounded the Magic, 48-46, in the contest.

The Blazers have won six of their last eight home tilts. On the year, Portland
is 22-12 in the friendly confines of the Rose Garden.

Houston has won two straight meetings between these teams this season. The
Rockets registered an 89-85 win over the Blazers at the Toyota Center on
February 27. However, Portland has won seven of the last 10 meetings overall
in this series.