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Roy leads Portland past Milwaukee, 96-84

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Associated Press
March 22, 2009
— The young Portland Trail Blazers are showing more proof of growing up.

Brandon Roy had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the Trail Blazers to a 96-84 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.


Steve Blake added 21 points and tied his season high with six 3-pointers as Portland, playing its fifth game in seven nights, came alive in the second half. The Trail Blazers finished their five-game road trip with a 3-2 mark and some momentum as they look to move up from their seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff scramble.


"I thought it was a mental challenge tonight," coach Nate McMillan said. "I hope this is just a sign of us growing up. Milwaukee came out very aggressive and tried to take advantage of the fact that we'd been on the road."


Milwaukee opened the game with a 9-0 run capped by a dunk by Charlie Villanueva, who had 26 points. The Bucks kept the lead through the rest of the quarter and got it to nine twice in the second, before Roy turned it around for Portland. He hit an 11-foot jump shot and then fed Rudy Fernandez for a 3-pointer. The Bucks clung to a 43-39 lead at the half, but it was all Trail Blazers after that.


"Our guys knew we needed this game and they reached down deep," McMillan said. "We got stronger, got better. We found our rhythm and we won this game by working harder."


Trailing by four, the Blazers opened the third with a 23-8 run, sparked by Blake's three 3-pointers and runner in the lane.


Blake's first 3 gave the Blazers their first lead of the game at 46-43, and it came after Joel Przybilla hustled down the court and blocked Ramon Sessions' fast-break layup.


"It seemed like we wanted to ease our way in the (third) quarter," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "As so often happens, when you come out like that, you can't get it back."


The Bucks shot 25 percent in the third while Portland was 52.6 percent from the field.


Roy said the Trail Blazers were out of sync in the first half, but knew the Bucks were struggling to score.


"Once we got our rhythm in the second half, we felt our defense was good enough to build a lead," he said. "We just had a smoother offensive rhythm."


Travis Outlaw grabbed a miss by LaMarcus Aldridge and slammed it home as Portland pushed the lead to 69-60 heading into the fourth.


"We just didn't come out and play like we needed to," Richard Jefferson said.


The Bucks cut it to 69-64 on a steal and layup by Keith Bogans. Bogans thought he was fouled on the play, but all his complaining got him was a technical. Fernandez made that free throw and then swished a 3-pointer from the corner to put Portland up 73-64 early in the fourth. The closest Milwaukee got was five the rest of the way.


Jefferson scored 19 and Sessions added 10 points and seven assists for Milwaukee, which finished a six-game homestand with a disappointing 2-4 mark.


Outlaw, playing for the injured Nicolas Batum, scored 17 for Portland which has been out of the postseason since 2002-03. They have allowed 100 or more points just three times in its last 18 games.


Aldridge was back at starting forward after missing his first game of the season, Thursday's 97-92 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He suffered a concussion in the Blazers' 95-85 win over Indiana on Wednesday night.


Aldridge scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.


Przybilla led the Blazers with 14 rebounds as they won their fifth straight against the Bucks and swept the season series. Roy has now scored 20 or more points in 12 consecutive games.


Greg Oden played in his third consecutive game since missing 15 with a bone chip in his left knee. He had been limited to 12 minutes a game the previous two and played only 9 minutes against the Bucks. He had two points, three rebounds and five fouls.


Milwaukee has dropped 11 of 15 and came and remained 1 games behind Chicago for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.


Notes:@ Batum missed his second consecutive game after spraining his left ankle during Wednesday's win. Portland's 22-7 record against the Eastern Conference is the best mark of any Western Conference team against the East. ... With the team in Toronto for a game, Skiles will miss his induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on March 25. He led Plymouth High School to the Indiana State Championship in 1982.



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