That bodes well for the Trail Blazers at the start of this four-game trip Sunday night when they take on the Nets.
Portland (8-7) is seeking to avoid its first three-game slide since Jan. 25-29. The Trail Blazers got leading scorer Brandon Roy(notes) back Friday, but his return wasn’t enough in a 97-78 loss to New Orleans.
Roy had 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting as he showed no ill effects of a knee injury that occurred in a 107-87 road loss to the Hornets on Nov. 13.
“I felt like I had a pretty good rhythm,” Roy told the Trail Blazers’ official website. “Legs got kind of heavy there at times, but for the most part, I felt like I was able to get some good looks and I made some shots.”
Roy wasn’t the problem Friday as the rest of the Trail Blazers combined to shoot 35.7 percent.
“They did a good job reading our plays,” Roy said. “They took certain plays away from us.”
Portland expected to get center Joel Przybilla(notes) back from a ruptured patella tendon, but the 7-footer’s return was delayed because of the stomach flu. The Blazers were outrebounded 48-27 without him.
Przybilla is listed as questionable for the opener of a stretch of four games against teams from the East.
“We’ve just got to do more, if that’s possible,” coach Nate McMillan said. “The hustle game, knocking down our shots, making plays. We’re good in certain areas for a quarter or two, but nothing consistent.”
Portland has outrebounded New Jersey (5-11) in every game of this win streak. Roy is averaging 23.4 points on 52.1 percent shooting in that span to lead the Trail Blazers.
“It was a tough loss for us,” coach Avery Johnson said. “They turned up the pressure on their defense. We couldn’t score or defend in the fourth quarter, which has been a problem for us recently. They made shots.”
Johnson holds the highest winning percentage (83.3) among active head coaches with a minimum of 10 games against the Trail Blazers, compiling a 10-2 mark while coaching the Dallas Mavericks.
Nets forward Travis Outlaw(notes) will face his former team for the first time. Outlaw was selected 23rd overall in the 2003 draft by Portland, and never averaged more than 13.3 points in his six full seasons with the Blazers.
Outlaw had been a bright spot for New Jersey, earning a starting job and averaging 15.1 points in seven games from Nov. 9-20. He’s totaled 18 points, however, in his last three contests.
Lopez is seeking his first victory over Portland after averaging 22.0 points on 60.3 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds in four losses.