Blazers pull away from Bobcats
PORTLAND — LaMarcus Aldridge thought the whole thing was strange.
There was his Portland teammate of nearly five years, Joel Przybilla, wearing a Charlotte jersey and playing for the other team.
"It just felt weird, you know?" Aldridge said after scoring 26 points in the Trail Blazers' 93-69 victory over the Bobcats on Saturday night.
"I wish we could have gotten the win, but it was a different experience, man," he said. "something I'll remember the rest of my life."
The Blazers sent Przybilla and fellow center Sean Marks, forward Dante Cunningham, and a pair of conditional first-round draft picks to Charlotte on Feb. 24 in exchange for Gerald Wallace, who was the last original member of the 7-year-old Bobcats. The deal was struck just seven minutes before the trade deadline.
Wallace, an All-Star last season, had seven points off the bench against his former team.
Przybilla was a fan favorite in Portland, where he had played since the 2004-05 season. He came into the game with 2:21 left in the first quarter to a standing ovation from the Rose Garden crowd. He fouled out with about a minute left in the game and was given another hearty ovation. At one point, the crowd chanted his name.
Przybilla finished with five points.
"It was great, I don't know what to say," Przybilla said. "I've had a couple receptions when I came back from injury, and this one. I'll remember this until the day I die."
The 7-foot-1 Przybilla — who was attractive to the Bobcats because of an expiring contract — was reluctant about leaving Portland, but was welcomed by owner Michael Jordan.
Gerald Henderson had 16 points for the Bobcats, who have lost four straight, all on the road. Charlotte was without top scorer Stephen Jackson because of a sore left hamstring.
Jackson, who leads the Bobcats with an average of 19 points per game, was hurt in Friday night's 92-84 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He had eight points and two rebounds before leaving in the third quarter.
Dominic McGuire started in his place.
"Back-to-back games and when you're missing your best scorer, it's going to be hard to put the ball in the basket," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said.
The Bobcats, coming off a 92-84 loss to the Lakers on Friday night, led by six points early, but the Blazers were on their heels for most of the first half.
Aldridge, the Western Conference player of the month for February, hit on a turnaround jumper that narrowed it to 29-28 with 5 minutes left, but D.J. Augustin followed with a 3-pointer for the Bobcats.
The Blazers finally went ahead 37-35 on Andre Miller's short jumper with 33 seconds left in the half. Wesley Matthews added a 3-pointer before time ran out for a 40-35 Portland lead.
Charlotte reclaimed the lead early in the second half on Augustin's reverse lay-in and a pull-up jumper to make it 45-42.
But Portland went on an 11-0 run, capped by Nicolas Batum's 3-pointer, to make it 53-45. The Blazers went up 60-48 on Mills' 3-pointer. Another one by Mills put Portland up 68-52.
The Australian guard finished with 12 points, all on 3-pointers.
The biggest cheerleader for his team, Mills said he had to check himself at least once when it came to Przybilla.
"I said, 'Good job, Joel,' and then I remembered," he said.
Portland was coming off a 107-102 victory at Sacramento on Wednesday.
Nets 137, Raptors 136, 3OT
At London, Travis Outlaw scored the final eight points for New Jersey in a win that gave New Jersey a two-game sweep of Toronto in London.
The game featured four missed buzzer-beaters and provided exactly the kind of thrilling finish league officials were looking for when they decided to bring regular-season games to Europe for the first time.
Outlaw made two free throws with 12.6 seconds remaining to put the Nets ahead for good and Andrea Bargnani missed a jumper at the buzzer as New Jersey swept the doubleheader at London's O2 Arena.
Jazz 109, Kings 102, OT
At Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson scored 27 points and Raja Bell had two crucial jumpers and a steal in overtime.
After the Jazz lost Paul Millsap to injury, Jefferson scored six points in overtime and Utah outscored the Kings 10-2 after Francisco Garcia started overtime with a 3-pointer.
Wizards 103, Timberwolves 96
At Washington, John Wall scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds.
Kevin Love scored 20 points and had 21 rebounds for Minnesota, the third straight game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds for the All-Star forward and his 11th of the season.
Rockets 112, Pacers 95
At Houston, Kevin Martin scored 20 points, Chase Budinger and Kyle Lowry added 18 apiece.
Luis Scola scored 16 and Chuck Hayes had 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who've won six of seven and are climbing into the Western Conference playoff picture. Houston began the night in 11th place in the West, three games behind Memphis in the race for the No. 8 spot in the postseason.
Clippers 100, Nuggets 94
At Los Angeles, rookie Blake Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high nine assists and the Los Angeles Clippers overcame yet another injury to leading scorer Eric Gordon to beat the Denver Nuggets.
Eric Bledsoe scored 15 of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, to help the Clippers win their first two games this month, equaling their victory total for February, when they were 2-12. Newly acquired Mo Williams had 17 points.
Nene led Denver with 25 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds.