Portland power forward Rasheed Wallace has missed the last four games with an ankle injury. His absence was felt again on Thursday as the Blazers suffered their third straight loss and seventh in eight games, 105-96 to Phoenix.
Zach Randolph had 21 points and 12 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season, but Portland was unable to hold off the Suns down the stretch.
Wallace, one of several Blazers mentioned in recent trade speculation, could be back in the lineup Saturday. But coach Maurice Cheeks admits that the rumors are taking a toll on his team.
“You have to say that things are in the air,” Cheeks said. “You could see it in the first half. It was like we were running in the mud. It’s not as though we didn’t try but it was as if things were on our mind.”
One of the rumors has Wallace going to Dallas in a deal for forward Antawn Jamison, but Portland general manager John Nash said Friday that nothing was imminent.
“I’m not going to comment on rumors, and we’re not going to discuss trades. That we are exploring our options is about the extent of it,” Nash said.
The Mavericks have won three in a row, including Friday’s 91-88 victory at Denver. Michael Finley scored five points in the final 1:26 as Dallas held on for its second straight road win. The Mavs won just four of their first 17 away from home.
Dallas forward Antoine Walker, who had triple-doubles in each of his previous two games, finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but only four assists.