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Nets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-11-25 News New Jersey Nets

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News » Nets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-11-25

Nets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-11-25

Nets-Trail Blazers Preview 2009-11-25Greg Oden is playing some of the best basketball of his career, and the Portland Trail Blazers have benefited with a pair of easy wins.

The Blazers' recent dominance should continue Wednesday night at home against the winless New Jersey Nets, who are closing in on a dubious NBA mark.

Oden tied a career high with 24 points and matched his season best with 12 rebounds in Monday night's 122-98 rout of Chicago. Over the past three games, the top overall selection in the 2007 draft has averaged 18.7 points and made 20 of 25 shots (80.0 percent).

The 7-footer averaged 8.9 points as a rookie and 9.5 points in the first 13 games this season.

"I'm not saying my game is where it should be, but when I can get good deep post position and overpower people and get good shots up, I definitely want to use my strength," Oden said.

The 122 points against the Bulls were a season high for the Blazers (11-5), who have won five straight at home. That performance followed a 106-78 victory over Minnesota.

With help from its 21-year-old center, Portland has shot 53.6 percent and committed 20 total turnovers in its back-to-back wins. In their first 14 games, the Blazers averaged 15.4 turnovers and shot 44.3 percent.

"Our turnovers have gone down, and both of our units have played well," coach Nate McMillan said. "The first group played well then the second group came in and continued that consistency we've talked about on both ends of the floor."

The Nets are playing consistently poorly, and they dropped to 0-14 with Tuesday night's 101-87 defeat at Denver.

New Jersey is three losses shy of matching the worst start in league history. Miami opened its inaugural season 0-17 in 1988-89, and the Los Angeles Clippers tied that mark in 1998-99.

"It's your choice what you're going to focus on," coach Lawrence Frank said. "What we choose to focus on is just today - get better today. ... The future - who knows? But right now, we know we have today and we're just going to focus on that."

The Nets, averaging a league-worst 85.1 points, shot 38.9 percent to start a four-game trip and allowed 100 points for the first time in nine games.

"Nobody likes to lose, especially at this rate," guard Devin Harris said. "We've just got to dig deep and find it within ourselves to come out with a better effort."

Despite being hobbled by a strained groin, Harris scored a season-high 19 points in his second game back from injury, and Rafer Alston rebounded from his shooting slump with 19 of his own.

Alston was 7 of 14 on Tuesday after making four of his previous 29 attempts. Chris Douglas-Roberts, however, was 1 of 6 after averaging 27.3 points on 48.4 percent shooting in the three previous games.

Harris led the Nets in scoring in both of last season's meetings with the Blazers, but Portland's Brandon Roy had a combined 60 points while leading his team to a season sweep.

Portland is searching for its fourth straight win over New Jersey and is 29-5 all-time against the Nets at home.

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Added: November 25, 2009


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