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Trail Blazers fall short at Milwaukee

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers fell 116-94 to the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, wrapping up their two-game road trip at the Bradley Center.

    For Portland (27-30) the game was truly a tale of two halves, as Portland shot nearly 55 percent from the field in the first half, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, to lead by nine points, 63-54, at the break, but would sputter offensively down the stretch.

    "We didn’t execute very well. They made it tough for us to get the ball in the post...They were clogging the lane up a lot," said guard Wesley Matthews of the team's second-half offensive woes. "We missed shots we normally make."

    Raymond Felton's layup in the first minute of the third quarter pushed the Portland lead to 11, but Milwaukee (28-28) came charging back, putting together a 13-2 run to tie the game at 67-67 midway through the period.

    Portland surged back to a seven point lead with three minutes left in the third but Milwaukee closed the period on a 13-3 run to take an 86-83 lead into the final stanza.

    It was seemingly all Milwaukee from there, as the Bucks won the fourth quarter 30-11 to pull away for the final margin.

    "It wasn’t the fourth quarter (that was the difference in the game), it was a tale of two halves," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "I thought we came out energized, focused, ready to go. We had a great first half, probably one of our best offensive halves of the season. But again, it starts and ends with the defensive end for us."

    The Trail Blazers shot 30.6 percent in the second half, including 1-of-12 from long range (8.3 percent) while allowing the Bucks to convert at a 55.8 percent clip, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.

    Portland was led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 21 points and Joel Pryzbilla pulled down 10 of the Trail Blazers 33 rebounds as the Bucks won the battle of the boards 49-33. Milwaukee grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the contest, resulting in a 19-5 edge in second-chance points.

    "They’ve been a very good rebounding team against us. That’s been, and will continue to be, a point of emphasis," Canales said. "We need five guys committed to rebounding. We have to give them credit. Tonight they did a good job of beating us on the boards."

    Felton notched a double-double for Portland with 10 points and 10 assists while Luke Babbitt led the bench unit with 12 points on 3-of-6 from the field, 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

    Beno Udrih and Brandon Jennings led the way for Milwaukee with 21 points each and Ersan Ilyasova tallied a double-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds.

    Portland returns home to take on the Houston Rockets Monday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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