Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers were on the wrong end of a blown call in their last game. Still, coach Nate McMillan feels his team has bigger concerns than the referees.
The Blazers look to rebound from a rare loss at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night when they close a three-game homestand against the Houston Rockets.
With Portland leading by two in the final seconds, LaMarcus Aldridge was called for goaltending as Oklahoma City All-Star Kevin Durant drove to the basket. Aldridge and the Blazers (14-11) vehemently argued the call, but the result was overtime and an eventual 111-107 loss to the league-best Thunder.
Portland, 11-2 at home, had won its previous five against visiting teams.
"It's tough. We definitely played well enough to win this game," Aldridge said after hitting all 11 free throws and scoring a season-high 39 points. "We had some tough calls and then we had some bad bounces late in the game. We have to learn from it."
The NBA announced on Tuesday that Aldridge made a good block and that there shouldn't have been a goaltending call, but McMillan isn't going to dwell on the play. What bothers him even more was his team getting dominated on the boards by 20.
"Regardless of that call, we've got to rebound," said McMillan, whose team also missed 15 of 20 from 3-point range.
The Blazers were outrebounded 54-46 in a 107-105 overtime loss in Houston on Jan. 14. Aldridge sent that game to overtime with an 18-footer with 23 seconds left in regulation, but Rockets leading scorer Kevin Martin closed out a 28-point performance by scoring his team's final six points.
Martin, though, enters this contest with just 10 total points on 2-for-19 shooting in the last two games after scoring eight in Monday's 99-90 victory at Denver.
The Rockets (14-11), though, improved to 1-1 on a season-high six-game trip behind 25 points from Luis Scola and 20 from Kyle Lowry.
"Anytime you can get a win on the road it's huge," Chase Budinger told the Rockets' official website after scoring 14 of his 16 after halftime.
Houston snapped a four-game losing streak in Portland in its last visit, posting a 103-87 victory on March 1.
Lowry, who had 21 points and 11 assists in that game, could be matched up with Jamal Crawford to start Wednesday's game if Blazers starting point guard Raymond Felton misses a second straight game with a sprained left foot.
It's uncertain if Portland center Marcus Camby, who had 15 rebounds on Monday, will be ready after missing Tuesday's practice with bronchitis. He was sidelined last month in Houston with a sprained left ankle.
Nicolas Batum, a Rockets first-round pick in 2008, hit six 3s and scored a team-high 29 points off the bench for Portland in that matchup. The French forward has 46 points and has hit 10 of 21 from long range in two games after missing two with an injured knee.
The last time the Blazers lost two straight at home was Feb. 27 to Atlanta and March 1 to Houston.
Updated February 7, 2012