Magic-Trail Blazers Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers' home dominance has carried into 2011-12 in impressive fashion.
The Orlando Magic will likely need Dwight Howard on the court if they're going to stop it.
The Trail Blazers look to keep their perfect home record intact Wednesday night when they face Howard and the Magic.
Portland (7-2) has won all six of its home games this season and 16 of 17 at the Rose Garden dating to 2010-11. The Blazers have held opponents to an average of 92.5 points at home this season.
All five starters scored in double figures and Portland hit 51.4 percent of its shots in a 105-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Gerald Wallace is having a major impact on the home success, averaging 21.0 points on 65.3 percent shooting in six games after leading the team with 20 points Tuesday. He has totaled just 14 points in three road games while making 4 of 25 from the field.
The home fans showed their appreciation for Wallace, chanting his name during Tuesday's victory.
"They keep me amped," he said.
The venue hasn't mattered to LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 18 points Tuesday and leads the Blazers with 22.1 per game while adding 7.7 rebounds.
Aldridge made 10 of 18 shots for 24 points in an 89-85 win at Orlando (6-3) on March 7, giving Portland a three-game winning streak in the series.
Those other two victories have come at the Rose Garden.
The Magic are looking to end the Trail Blazers' home winning streak, and keeping Howard on the court for most of the game would likely play a major role in that.
Howard is averaging 18.6 points while ranking second in the NBA with 14.6 boards. He had 39 points and 15 rebounds in Orlando's last visit to Portland, a 97-83 loss on Dec. 9, 2010.
The Magic proved they can win without a strong contribution from their star, opening this four-game road trip with a 104-97 win over Sacramento on Sunday. Howard's role was reduced early due to foul trouble, and he was held to season lows of five points and four rebounds in 19 1/2 minutes.
Swingman Jason Richardson and reserve forward-center Glen Davis picked up the slack for Howard, as they both set season highs with 22 and 20 points, respectively.
"These types of games are a tell-all for a team when you have your best player in foul trouble," said forward Ryan Anderson, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds Sunday. "We had a lot of guys back (Howard) up. Glen did an amazing job off the bench."
Orlando struggled without Howard in the latest meeting with Portland. Richardson had a game-high 22 points while Howard served a one-game suspension for an accumulation of technical fouls.
Updated January 11, 2012