Tuesday , Dec , 26 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Trail Blazers trying to reach .500

(Sports Network) – The Portland Trail Blazers are improved and seem to be
heading in the right direction. Even though they are 12-15, the Trail Blazers
are better than most expected them to be.

On Tuesday, the Phoenix Suns attempt to get back on the winning track when
they host the Trail Blazers at US Airways Center. It is the second meeting of
the season between the squads. On November 26th, Raja Bell scored 30 points
and reigning MVP Steve Nash had 23 points and 10 assists to lead the Suns over
Portland, 119-101, at the Rose Garden.

The Suns have won three in a row and seven of the last eight contests against
the Trail Blazers, who have lost four straight at Phoenix.

Portland had its season-best five-game winning streak halted on Friday at the
Rose Garden. Rookie Andrea Bargnani drained a jumper with 3.5 seconds left in
overtime to lift the Toronto Raptors past the Trail Blazers, 101-100.

Zach Randolph had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the loss to
Toronto for the Trail Blazers. Travis Outlaw scored 18 points and rookie
Brandon Roy contributed 16 points, 10 boards and eight assists in defeat.

The Trail Blazers are 6-8 on the road this season. They return home to host
the Hornets on Wednesday and the new-look Sixers on Friday. Portland defeated
the Sixers, 81-79, on December 11th at the Wachovia Center and beat the
Hornets, 92-91, on November 10th at the Rose Garden.

Portland is 4-2 when it scores 100 or more points this season. The Blazers are
1-14 when their opponent reaches the century mark.

Randolph leads the Trail Blazers in scoring (25.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.1
rpg). He has collected 15 double-doubles and has scored in double-digits in
all 26 games he has played in.

POR