Toronto (32-32) at Portland (40-28)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EDT Sun Mar 14, 2010
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With Brandon Roy(notes) back in All-Star form, the Portland Trail Blazers are closing in on a playoff berth. Chris Bosh’s(notes) return hasn’t had the same effect for the Toronto Raptors.

Roy will try to help the Blazers to their ninth win in 11 games Sunday night against the Raptors, who are attempting to avoid a season high-tying fifth straight loss.

Portland (40-28) went 4-8 while Roy sat out with an injured right hamstring Jan. 22-Feb. 10 and split its first six games following his return Feb. 16.

He had at least 20 points in four straight games from Feb. 21-26 - including 20 in a 101-87 win in Toronto - but scored just seven in a win at Minnesota to conclude the month.

Roy has averaged 24.5 points in March, and he’s scored 29.3 per game during Portland’s current three-game win streak. After tallying 41 points in Thursday night’s 110-105 win at Golden State, he had 28 in a 110-94 victory at Sacramento the next evening.

The Blazers have also averaged 104.3 points over the past 10 games, and that’s helped them build a 4 1/2-game lead for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Portland is also just two games back of Oklahoma City in fifth place.

“My confidence is coming back and so is the swagger, which gives the team some swagger as well,” Roy said. “We’re starting to get healthy and teams are seeing that we are dangerous.”

Toronto, meanwhile, is coming perilously close to falling out of playoff contention after dropping eight of nine - beginning with the loss to the Blazers on Feb. 24.

The return of Bosh after he missed seven games with a sprained left ankle hasn’t helped as the Raptors (32-32) have dropped four straight with their All-Star forward in the lineup.

Toronto has fallen to eighth in the East, 1 1/2 games ahead of Chicago. The Raptors, who haven’t lost five in a row since Nov. 25-Dec. 2, are also in danger of dropping below .500 for the first time since Jan. 20.

“Time is ticking and it’s counting down, and if we keep playing the way we are right now, we’re going to be on the outside looking in,” Bosh said. “Guys need to step it up.”

Bosh had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the team’s latest defeat, 124-112 at Golden State on Saturday night. As Toronto concludes its four-game Western trip, he is 31 points shy of becoming the franchise’s first player with 10,000 in his career.

Hedo Turkoglu(notes) will make his lone appearance in Portland this season. He reportedly gave a verbal commitment to join the Blazers in July but later backed out to sign with Toronto.

Turkoglu, though, hasn’t matched the level of production from his five previous seasons in Orlando—averaging 12.0 points on 40.8 percent shooting.

He’s averaged 6.5 points and shot 32.5 percent over his past six games, but scored 24 in the loss to Portland while hitting 8 of 9 shots. Turkoglu has averaged 24.7 points on 57.9 percent shooting in his last six games against the Blazers.

Roy led Portland with 20 points in the win, and Andre MIller(notes) contributed 18 and 10 assists.

Portland, which has won six of seven at home against Toronto, is trying to sweep the Raptors for the second straight season.

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Sunday, Mar 14