Thursday , Apr , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Blazers play crucial contest in Philly

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – The Portland Trail Blazers try to move
into a tie with the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the
Western Conference tonight, as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers at the
Wachovia Center.

Portland and the Denver Nuggets are currently 1/2 game behind the Jazz, who
host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. Philadelphia is in 10th place in the
Eastern Conference, two games behind the Boston Celtics for the final playoff
spot.

This is the second and final meeting of the season between the two
teams. On November 3rd, Philadelphia knocked off the Blazers, 94-83, at the
Rose Garden.

The Blazers finish a three-game road trip tonight. Portland is 1-1 on the
current swing.

On Wednesday, Darius Miles poured in a career-high 31 points on 13-of-17
shooting, as the Trail Blazers defeated the Celtics, 105-98, at the
FleetCenter. Zach Randolph contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for Portland,
which has won eight of its last 11 contests. Former 76er Theo Ratliff
collected 14 points and eight boards in the win for the Trail Blazers.

Portland is 14-23 on the road this season.

On Tuesday, the 76ers learned that they would be without All-Star guard Allen
Iverson for the rest of the regular season because of a right knee injury.
Philadelphia is 13-14 without the Georgetown product.

Philadelphia comes into tonight’s game having won seven straight games at the
Wachovia Center. On Tuesday, Samuel Dalembert posted 18 points and 13 rebounds
to lead the 76ers over the Golden State Warriors, 95-71, in front of their
home crowd. Aaron McKie netted 18 points and grabbed six boards in the
victory.

Dalembert has averaged 14.3 points and 12.5 rebounds in his last four games.

The Sixers are a respectable 21-16 at home this season.

Philadelphia has won three in a row over the Trail Blazers. These two teams
have split the last eight meetings at Philadelphia.

PHI POR