Friday , Dec , 09 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Portland struggling to find an identity

(Sports Network) – Portland is a dismal 5-13 after 18 games under new head
coach Nate McMillan. The Trail Blazers are struggling to figure out how they
are going to win games on a consistent basis with their current roster.

The slumping Trail Blazers attempt to put the brakes on a six-game losing
streak when they welcome the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on Friday to
the Rose Garden. The road team has won seven of the last 10 meetings in this
series. The Hornets have won two in a row and three of their last four at
Portland.

Portland plays the middle contest of a three-game homestand against the
Hornets. On Wednesday, Marko Jaric scored 19 points, including 10 in the
fourth quarter, as the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied from 14 points down to
defeat the Trail Blazers, 84-74, at the Rose Garden.

Zach Randolph scored a team-high 15 points and pulled down 10 boards in the
loss to Minnesota for the Trail Blazers, while center Joel Przybilla finished
with 10 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.

The Trail Blazers, who will host the Houston Rockets on Sunday, are 3-5 at
home this season.

Forward Darius Miles is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. The 24-
year-old Miles leads the club in scoring (18.2 ppg) and has pulled down 5.6
rebounds per game in 15 contests. The loss of Miles is huge, as the high-
flying youngster may have been on the verge of reaching becoming the star that
many though he could be.

Twenty-four-year-old Zach Randolph has been solid for the Blazers. He is
averaging 17.8 points and a team-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Randolph has
registered nine double-doubles in Portland’s first 18 contests.

POR