Charlotte 76, Portland 88

In their recent tear the Blazers have been shooting and scoring well, even without stud LaMarcus Aldridge. Into town comes one of the dirtiest teams in the league. Can you imagine the filth if they somehow got Shaquille O'Neal to team with Tyson Chandler?

In their prior meeting Delonte West went nuts. This time he was held in check, scoring 21 points but shooting just 8-19 and pulling down just 6 rebounds. Chandler had an outstanding game, shooting 8-8 and yanking 19 boards.

Roy was up to the challenge, however. On a night when Outlaw was a regrettable 1-12 from the field, Roy shot well, passed well (9 assists) and controlled the game.

Somehow, despite shooting only 41%, Portland outshot their opponents. They struggled on the boards. They struggled to score. But they held their turnovers down, got timely shooting, and took over when the game mattered, the third and fourth quarters.

This has been a trend lately. They still are struggling in the third, but now instead of 10 - 15 point deficits, they are only giving up 2 - 3 points. Then, in the fourth, they are closing out teams. They are letting their hot hands get the ball in places where they can score and winning games. It has been a beautiful sight.

It is also nice to see Outlaw playing with confidence where even if he has a rough night, he still continues to try to make things happen, getting to the line and making his free throws even if the shots aren't falling. It has been good to see his development.

Oh, and...for the first time all year, the Blazers have a winning record.

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