Rockets Go For Fifth In A Row Against Hot Blazers

(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers hope to improve their playoff positioning Tuesday when they welcome the Houston Rockets to Rip City.

The Blazers fell to 2-2 on a five-game homestand Sunday when Jamal Crawford had 23 points and Joe Johnson scored 22, as the Atlanta Hawks held on for a 90-83 victory against Portland at the Rose Garden.

Andre Miller had 20 points to lead the Blazers, who were coming off back-to- back overtime games. They lost to the Lakers last Wednesday before beating Denver, 107-106, on Friday.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who left late in the first quarter with discomfort in his left knee but returned with a brace, added 19 points while Gerald Wallace netted nine in his Portland debut. The Blazers, who hold the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoff hunt, acquired Wallace from Charlotte last Thursday.

"I was kinda nervous," said Wallace. "Feels like the first day of school, trying to fit in and adjust to everybody."

Marcus Camby was held scoreless in his return to the lineup after missing 16 games with a balky knee.

The Rockets, meanwhile, have won four straight, including the opener of a three-game road trip Sunday in New Orleans when Kevin Martin scored 33 points and Kyle Lowry notched 18, as Houston mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to down the Hornets, 91-89.

Martin went 13-of-13 from the free throw line, including a pair with 18.4 seconds to go that eventually decided the game. Charles Hayes had six points, 11 rebounds, and five assists for the Rockets, who have won five straight on the road and are three games south of Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

"We played our game," Lowry said. "We played as physical as them. They're a physical team."

Reserve point guard Goran Dragic, who was acquired from Phoenix last Thursday, was down with the flu against the Hornets and his status for tonight's game is up in the air.

Portland, which has taken both matchups versus Houston so far this year, will be shooting for a season sweep tonight. The Blazers have also won four consecutive at the Rose Garden over the Rockets.

Houston hasn't won six straight as the visitor since a 12-game stretch from Jan. 4-March 12, 2008.

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