Home brings no relief for Blazers against Bucks

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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PORTLAND — Just before Brandon Roy walked into the Rose Garden for the first time since announcing his retirement, legendary broadcaster Bill Schonely was honored with a video tribute that included praise from Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler.

Appropriate. There's never been a better time for Trail Blazers fans to think about the past.

Portland's futile ways continued Tuesday via a 116-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Blazers failed to win a single quarter, and through the first 36 minutes, their bench was 0 for 20 from the field and scored just one point.

Perhaps more significantly, Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn actually, like ... played.

"Too many crooked numbers up here on the stat sheet. We didn't do a good job defensively tonight," said Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales, whose team allowed Milwaukee to shoot better than 57 percent from the field and 52 percent from 3-point distance. "They're a hot team and they played like they've been playing and we didn't take them out of their game."

The extra-strength Advil that was last week's victory over the Bulls has worn off, and the team's splitting headache has returned. The Blazers have now lost six of their past eight games, are four games below .500, and find themselves in 12th place in the Western Conference — three and a half games out of eighth place.

The post-game press conference with Canales lasted only 1 minute and 37 seconds, as there was seemingly little to say about the blowout. And while Portland's bench (it finished 2 for 29) appeared to be the most glaring shortcoming Tuesday, the Blazers insist defense was what was most absent.

"I think our biggest thing tonight was we didn't play no defense," said Blazers center Joel Przyiblla. "All defense is is a little effort, and we didn't do that tonight. Effort and concentration — we get defensive stops, that makes it easier for us in transition and offense. We didn't do nothing tonight."

Portland (21-25), which got 21 points out of LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews, trailed by just two after the first quarter. But the Bucks (21-24) outscored the Blazers by nine in the second quarter, seven in the third, and 11 in the fourth to win their sixth consecutive game.

Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said that he and his teammates felt optimistic coming into the game, but that the ostensible relief of finally returning from a long road trip may have actually backfired.

"We played good the last two games, and then we finally came back home in front of our home crowd, and we thought we could relax," Batum said. "That's the first thing that coach said -- 'be careful.' The first game after a long road trip, sometimes you think 'finally, we're here.'"

Raymond Felton added 18 points for Portland on 7 of 11 shooting. Drew Gooden led Milwaukee with 19 points while Brandon Jennings, Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih added 15. Newly acquired guard Monta Ellis pitched in 14 points and nine assists.

The Blazers will practice Wednesday and take on the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday at the Rose Garden.