Charlotte Bobcats 69 – Portland Trail Blazers 93


PORTLAND, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge thought the whole thing was strange.

There was his Portland teammate of nearly five years, Joel Przybilla, wearing a Charlotte jersey and playing for the other team.

“It just felt weird, you know?” Aldridge said after scoring 26 points in the Trail Blazers’ 93-69 victory over the Bobcats on Saturday night.

Przybilla agreed.

“I wish we could have gotten the win, but it was a different experience, man,” he said. “something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”

The Blazers sent Przybilla and fellow center Sean Marks, forward Dante Cunningham, and a pair of conditional first-round draft picks to Charlotte on Feb. 24 in exchange for Gerald Wallace, who was the last original member of the 7-year-old Bobcats. The deal was struck just seven minutes before the trade deadline.

Wallace, an All-Star last season, had seven points off the bench against his former team.

Przybilla was a fan favorite in Portland, where he had played since the 2004-05 season. He came into the game with 2:21 left in the first quarter to a standing ovation from the Rose Garden crowd. He fouled out with about a minute left in the game and was given another hearty ovation. At one point, the crowd chanted his name.

Przybilla finished with five points.

“It was great, I don’t know what to say,” Przybilla said. “I’ve had a couple receptions when I came back from injury, and this one. I’ll remember this until the day I die.”

The 7-foot-1 Przybilla — who was attractive to the Bobcats because of an expiring contract — was reluctant about leaving Portland, but was welcomed by owner Michael Jordan.

Gerald Henderson had 16 points for the Bobcats, who have lost four straight, all on the road. Charlotte was without top scorer Stephen Jackson because of a sore left hamstring.

Jackson, who leads the Bobcats with an average of 19 points per game, was hurt in Friday night’s 92-84 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He had eight points and two rebounds before leaving in the third quarter.

Dominic McGuire started in his place.

“Back-to-back games and when you’re missing your best scorer, it’s going to be hard to put the ball in the basket,” Charlotte coach Paul Silas said.

The Bobcats, coming off a 92-84 loss to the Lakers on Friday night, led by six points early, but the Blazers were on their heels for most of the first half.

Aldridge, the Western Conference player of the month for February, hit on a turnaround jumper that narrowed it to 29-28 with 5 minutes left, but D.J. Augustin followed with a 3-pointer for the Bobcats.

The Blazers finally went ahead 37-35 on Andre Miller’s short jumper with 33 seconds left in the half. Wesley Matthews added a 3-pointer before time ran out for a 40-35 Portland lead.

Charlotte reclaimed the lead early in the second half on Augustin’s reverse lay-in and a pull-up jumper to make it 45-42.

But Portland went on an 11-0 run, capped by Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer, to make it 53-45. The Blazers went up 60-48 on Patrick Mills’ 3-pointer. Another one by Mills put Portland up 68-52.

The Australian guard finished with 12 points, all 3-pointers.

The biggest cheerleader for his team, Mills said he had to check himself at least once when it came to Przybilla.

“I said, ‘Good job, Joel,’ and then I remembered,” he said.

Portland was coming off a 107-102 victory at Sacramento on Wednesday.

Game notes
Ed Manning, who played for the Trail Blazers during Portland’s first season in 1970-71, died Friday at a hospital in Texas. Manning, also a former assistant coach at Kansas, is the father of former Kansas and NBA star Danny Manning, currently an assistant for the Jayhawks. The Blazers held a moment of silence for him before the game. … Charlotte has lost four straight to Portland. The Bobcats’ 69 points was the lowest total the Blazers allowed this season.

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