Bobcats-Blazers: Tired Bobcats Fall Flat in Portland
The Blazers used a huge first quarter to put distance between themselves and the Bobcats, and cruised to the victory.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 for Portland (28-17) who, with the win, move to within one-and-a-half games of Denver in the Northwest Division.
Aldridge got off to a hot start and scored over half of his points in the first quarter, and the Blazers were able to stretch a 17-0 run over the last couple of minutes of the opening period and into the second.
That would be all the breathing room they needed, as the Bobcats (19-27) would never come closer than 11 points for the rest of the game. Greg Oden chipped in 14 points and 14 rebounds for Portland. It was Oden's fourth double-double in his last six games and his 14th of the season.
It was obvious all night that the Bobcats were tired. Their legs weren't under them and the shots weren't falling. The Bobcats were out-rebounded 45-26 and committed 15 turnovers.
It is necessary to note, though, that the Bobcats never mailed this game in. As easy as it could have been for Charlotte to lay back and take a lashing, but they never did. The second half was a totally different story.
The Bobcats outscored the Blazers 34-32 in the second half and forced 17 Portland turnovers on the night.
Emeka Okafor led the Bobcats with 18 points and five rebounds. Raja Bell also contributed 16 points and four rebounds.
The Bobcats were without leading scorer Gerald Wallace, who was hospitalized on Tuesday night after a flagrant foul by Andrew Bynum of the Lakers broke Wallace's rib and collapsed his left lung. There has been no timetable for Wallace’s return to the team, but coach Larry Brown said he doesn't anticipate Wallace playing "anytime soon."
Charlotte is also without rookie point guard D.J. Augustin, who is out with an abdominal strain. Augustin suffered a setback in his recuperation and will likely be out another week-and-a-half to two weeks.
Portland will play Utah at home on Saturday before heading on a three-game midwestern road trip.
Charlotte will play at Denver on Friday and at Utah on Monday to conclude their West coast road trip.
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