Trail Blazers 89, 76ers 85By Stephen Alexander, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Dec 30, 2012 12:30 AM EST
Saturday night's game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers was a dogfight throughout. The game came down to the last half of the fourth quarter before the Blazers finally pulled out an 89-85 victory. The win may have come at a very high cost, though. With 9:01 remaining, Portland center Myers Leonard went up for a rebound and the Blazers No. 11 draft pick came down hard on his right knee. The video replay appeared to show Leonard's knee locking and bending backward. Portland has a history of watching the careers of promising young centers -- Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden -- end prematurely because of injury. Leonard had to be helped to the locker room by Blazers medical personnel. The 7-1, 251-pounder was unable to put any pressure on his knee. Leonard saw 16 minutes of action Saturday and scored four points. There was no update on his condition at game's end. The Blazers were led by Nicolas Batum's 22 points. Damian Lillard scored 20 points, J.J. Hickson scored 17 points, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 16 points. The 76ers were led by Jrue Holiday with a game-high 29 points. Thaddeus Young scored 17 points and Nick Young and Spencer Hawes scored 10 points each. The Blazers set the pace in the first quarter, taking a 30-23 lead. Both teams shot the ball extremely well during the period. Philadelphia finished the quarter 10 of 17 from the field (.588) while Portland went 12 of 20 (.600). Portland remained on top at halftime, heading into the break with a 49-40 lead. The Blazers finished the half 20 of 41 from the field (.488). Aldridge scored 10 points, Batum scored nine points while Hickson and Claver added eight points each. The 76ers shot 18 of 38 in the first half (.474). Holiday scored 14 points, Thaddeus Young scored eight points and Nick Young scored seven points. Statistically, the first half was a virtual deadlock between the Blazers and the 76ers. Both teams scored 20 points in the paint and eight second chance points. Philadelphia out-rebounded Portland 20-18 and scored eight points off turnovers to the Blazers five points off turnovers. In the third quarter, the game got even tighter. The 76ers made a run and pulled even with the Blazers twice. But, heading into the fourth quarter, Portland still led 70-67. NOTES: Aldridge (21.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game) missed the final minutes of their 104-87 loss to the Los Angeles because of a bruised chest. Blazers coach Terry Stotts expected Aldridge to be healthy against the Philadelphia 76ers. ... Guard Wesley Matthews missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained left hip flexor. He has not played in six of the Blazers' last nine games. ... In more injury news, guard/forward Jason Richardson returned from a sore back. He is averaging 11.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. ... Both teams are playing for the second time in as many days. On Friday, Philadelphia lost on the road to the Golden State Warriors and the Blazers lost on the road to the Lakers.
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