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Trail Blazers v. Rockets preview: Portland seeks turnaround in Texas two-step

01/13/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers finish off back-to-back games in Texas as they take on the Houston Rockets Saturday, 5 p.m., (Comcast SportsNet, 750 AM The Game). The Trail Blazers suffered their first back-to-back losses of the season with Friday's 99-83 loss at San Antonio.

    Portland (7-4) will likely be without the services of center Marcus Camby in their turnaround effort. He sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Friday night's 99-82 loss at San Antonio and did not return to the game.

    Immediate x-rays of the ankle were negative but Camby is listed as day-to-day with the sprain. After the game, Camby sounded hopeful that the injury was mild.

    "I thought I was going to be able to just get up and walk it off or run it off," he said. "I just really can’t put a lot of weight on it now, so I’m going to stick to the treatments and try to get out on the court as quickly as possible."

    The 37-year-old center has averaged 8.7 rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers this season to go along with 3.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks.

    "(Marcus) Camby is basically the backbone of that defense. He kind of anchors a lot of things," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We need to be a better rebounding team, so everybody has to play a part in that."

    LaMarcus Aldridge echoed the coach's sentiments on the importance of Camby's play to the team's performance.

    "Definitely losing him is always tough, he’s a big time rebounder and shot blocker," Aldridge said. "He’s big for us and he’s our starting center, so losing him was tough."

    In his absence the likely scenario is 39-year-old Kurt Thomas stepping into the starting role, backed up by second-year player Chris Johnson.

    "We have a lot of bigs that are going to have the opportunity to play and show what they got," Camby said. "Guys have been working hard at practice, so now they are going to get the opportunity."

    Houston (4-7) is coming off a 101-89 victory at home Friday over the Sacramento Kings. The Rockets were led by guard Kyle Lowry, who threatened a triple-double with 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Luis Scola and Samuel Dalembert scored 21 points each while pulling down 11 and 16 rebounds, respectively, for a pair of double-doubles.

    "We’re going to have to figure out how to play on the road," Camby said. "The schedule has been in our favor the first part because we had a lot of home games and we solidified our home court."

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