Portland (17-32) at Charlotte (14-38)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Mon Feb 13, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Something has to give when the worst in the Western Conference meets its counterparts from the East.

The Portland Trail Blazers will try to avoid their fifth straight loss when they meet the Charlotte Bobcats, who have dropped 15 of 18.

The Trail Blazers were routed 114-81 Sunday by the Toronto Raptors. Portland has dropped its last three games by a combined 97-point margin.

After a one-point loss Feb. 4 to the Denver Nuggets, the Blazers lost Wednesday to the Indiana Pacers and Friday to the Boston Celtics, each by 32 points before the 33-point setback to the Raptors.

Nate McMillan, in his first year with Portland after leading the Seattle SuperSonics to 52-30 mark a year ago, was discouraged with his new team’s effort.

“It looks like the spirit is gone, the fire is not there,” he said. “There is absolutely no presence on the defensive end of the floor the last couple of games.”

The Blazers’ defense has given up an average of 108.8 points in the last four games, far above the 96.3 they normally allow.

After posting a franchise-record three-game winning streak from Feb. 3-8, the injury-riddled Bobcats have dropped two straight including a 99-93 loss Saturday to the Milwaukee Bucks,

“We have to ad lib, which is basically what we’ve been doing,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “The group has done a nice job adjusting. We have to do different things with different personnel.”

Melvin Ely, who scored 21 points against the Bucks, has a 13.3 points average in his last 11 games, since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 11 games.

Leading scorer Gerald Wallace (knee) has missed 12 games, while last season’s Rookie of the Year and the leading rebounder Emeka Okafor (ankle) has missed 18 consecutive games.

Sean May—Charlotte’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft—has not played since a 105-92 win against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 20, due to a right knee injury.

Brevin Knight has missed the last two games due to soreness in his right knee and Kareem Rush did not play against the Bucks due to personal reasons.

No Bobcat has played in every game this season. Rookie Raymond Felton missed Friday’s 88-73 loss to the Raptors, ending his streak at 50 games.

Charlotte is looking for its first win in three tries against Portland.

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