Milwaukee (11-13) at Portland (11-10)

Cloudy Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Tue Dec 16, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Now that the home fans have had time to take in Rasheed Wallace’s apology, maybe their disdain for him will subside.

His play won’t be enough to do it.

Coming off a terrific performance despite being jeered by his home crowd, Wallace leads the Portland Trail Blazers against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The volatile forward apologized Saturday for using objectionable language in an interview in which he criticized the NBA’s “white establishment.” Wallace charged the league is exploiting young black athletes to enrich itself.

“I made a few comments that some people found objectionable,” Wallace said in a statement. “Like everyone, I have a right to express an opinion, which I did.

“But, I regret using street language to express my opinion because everyone has focused on these few comments when I said other things. It was not my intent to offend anyone.”

Wallace’s apology came out shortly before Portland’s home game against the Los Angeles Lakers, meaning many people in the arena probably didn’t hear about the statement. In turn, Wallace received a number of boos from the home fans when he was introduced.

The angry reaction from the home crowd did not negatively affect his game. Wallace scored 28 points—his second-highest total of the season—on 11-of-21 shooting with seven rebounds and five assists as the Blazers posted a 112-108 victory over the Lakers, owners of the NBA’s best record.

Portland, which had been coming off an 0-3 road trip, notched its fourth straight home victory.

“It was not just an ordinary win,” Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. “It was a big win for us.”

Milwaukee was coming off consecutive home wins before opening a three-game road trip Sunday by wasting an 18-point first-half lead in losing 108-102 at Seattle.

Michael Redd paced the Bucks with 27 points, but a better sign for the team was the return of Tim Thomas. The starting forward scored 19 points after missing the previous nine games with a sprained left ankle.

“It was good, very good to get back,” Thomas said. “I’m not where I want to be, but I play hurt all the time.”

STANDINGS (through Dec. 14): Bucks - 5th place, 7 GB, Central Division. Trail Blazers - 3rd place (tied), 6 GB, Pacific Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Bucks - F Desmond Mason, F Thomas, C Daniel Santiago, G T.J. Ford, G Redd. Trail Blazers - F Wallace, F Zach Randolph, C Dale Davis, G Jeff McInnis, G Damon Stoudamire.

TEAM LEADERS: Bucks - Redd, 22.8 ppg; Joe Smith, 9 rpg; Ford, 6.3 apg. Trail Blazers - Randolph, 22.5 ppg and 11 rpg; Stoudamire, 6.2 apg.

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Bucks, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 22; Bucks, 93-90. At Portland, Gary Payton, who has since signed with the Lakers, had 22 points and nine assists in his Milwaukee debut and the Bucks overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bucks - 4-9 on the road; Trail Blazers - 11-2 at home.

INJURIES: Bucks - F Toni Kukoc (back); F Brian Skinner (knee). Trail Blazers - G Derek Anderson (back).

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