Wednesday , Dec , 06 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

There is a light at the end of the tunnel in Portland

(Sports Network) – Even though Portland is just 7-12 and is in last place in
the Northwest Division, the Trail Blazers are still much improved and have
some young players who will get the team back to the postseason in the near
future.

Twenty-five-year-old Zach Randolph is having a great season for Trail Blazers.
The Michigan State product leads Portland in scoring (26.1 ppg) and rebounding
(10.3 rpg). Randolph has scored 30 or more points in three of his last four
outings and has collected 11 double-doubles this season.

Point guard Jarrett Jack, who is averaging 12.7 points per game in his second
season in the league, has dished out a team-best 5.9 assists per game. The 23-
year-old Jack has registered two double-doubles and is shooting 44.8 percent
from the floor.

Randolph and Jack give Portland a solid nucleus to build around, while rookies
LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, who is sidelined with a sore left heel and
has played just five games this season, will be a big part of the team’s
success in the future.

The Trail Blazers play the second of a season-long six-game road trip on
Wednesday, as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center. It is the
first of two meetings this season between the clubs. Portland is scheduled to
host the Bucks on January 21st at the Rose Garden.

Portland has won five of seven and six of its last nine as the visitor against
the Bucks. The Trail Blazers are 13-37 at Milwaukee. These teams have split
the last four contests in the series.

The Trail Blazers try to win back-to-back games against the Bucks. On Tuesday,
Randolph drained a go-ahead short bank shot over Tayshaun Prince with 21
seconds left, then Richard Hamilton missed two three-pointers in the final
three seconds as Portland stunned the Detroit Pistons, 88-85, at The Palace of
Auburn Hills.

Randolph led all scorers with 31 points and 13 rebounds, while Aldridge
recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 boards in the
win over Detroit for the Blazers.

Portland is 3-6 on the road this season. The Trail Blazers will also play the
Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies on
the current trip.

The Trail Blazers are 1-10 when they allow 100 or more points this season.

POR