Trail Blazers vs Magic Monday, 03/07/11 AT 04:00PM

Preview: Clicking Trail Blazers Take Advantage Of Suspended Howard

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.8

    The Portland Trail Blazers are looking like their old selves.

    After Saturday’s 93-69 dismantling of the Charlotte Bobcats at the Rose Garden for their second win in a row, the Trail Blazers will now hit the road looking to take down the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Monday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 PM.

    A giant hole has been left in Orlando’s (40-23) roster after their star center Dwight Howard will have to serve a one-game suspension after picking up his 16th technical foul in the 89-81 loss at home to Chicago on Friday.   

    Howard, who was named the Kia NBA Eastern Conference’s Player of the Month for February, notched 26.6 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor during the month.

    That’s great news for Portland (35-27), which has won its last five matchups on the road and is looking to pull off its first season sweep over the Magic since 2003-04.

    The Trail Blazers looked like a well-oiled unit at home on Saturday before having to embark on a tough four-game trip that features Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. 

    Against Charlotte, LaMarcus Aldridge, who received the Western Conference Player of the Month honor, scored a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots for Portland.

    Patty Mills dialed in with four 3-pointers for 12 points and Brandon Roy added 10 off the bench to take a 1-0 lead over the Bobcats before meeting again on Friday.

    Aldridge is only the third Trail Blazers in earn the award after averaging 27.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.67 steals and 1.58 blocks in February.

    The Trail Blazers, who went 1-3 on their last four-game trip in mid December, can pick up their third straight win over the Magic in Monday’s matchup.

    On Dec. 18, Andre Miller returned from a one-game suspension that ended his run of 632 games played, the longest active streak at the time, and led the Trail Blazers with 22 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to top Orlando 97-83 at the Rose Garden. 

    Wesley Matthews also notched 20 points, while Marcus Camby pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds and chipped in with six points.  

    Howard recorded a double-double with game highs of 39 points and 15 rebounds, but Portland held the advantage on the glass 47-40.   

    On Friday, the Magic were struck by the Bulls despite 20 points and 10 rebounds from Howard. He picked up his 16th tech, the most in the league, before halftime after swiping his elbow at Chicago’s Kyle Korver following an offensive rebound that he was fouled on. 

    Three other Orlando players scored in double digits–Brandon Bass (16), Richard Jefferson (16) and Jameer Nelson (14). However, the Magic were outrebounded 50-30.

    The Trail Blazers have struggled in Orlando, winning just one of their last five meetings.

    Last season, Brandon Roy scored 33 points in one game against the Magic, while Miller averaged 17.5 points and shot 54.2 percent in two contests. 

    Portland will be without Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are both sidelined with knee-related injuries.

    Watch the Trail Blazers in action on Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and listen to the live play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game.

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