National Basketball Association
<    April    >
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30
 
               === Blazers entertain Suns at the Rose Garden ===
 
 (Sports  Network)  - Two teams  that desperately  needed the All-Star break to
 collect  themselves return  to action  Tuesday night  when the  Portland Trail
 Blazers host the Phoenix Suns.
 
 The  Blazers  limped into  the break losers  of five straight  on a road trip.
 They've  fallen out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but have five
 of their next six games in the Rose City.
 
 Portland  is  three games behind the  Houston Rockets for the eighth and final
 playoff spot in the Western Conference. Thanks to the emergence of presumptive
 Rookie  of the  Year,  Damian  Lillard, the  Blazers  have  contended for  the
 postseason maybe a little earlier than expected.
 
 "I think we definitely overachieved this year," forward LaMarcus Aldridge said
 at All-Star Media Day. "I don't think anyone had us being that good. If we can
 come back and be solid in the second half, it's possible."
 
 Aldridge  played in  his second All-Star Game  on Sunday and Lillard was a big
 part  of All-Star  Weekend. He  participated  in the  Rising Stars  Challenge,
 scoring 18 points, on Friday night, then went out and won the Skills Challenge
 Saturday night.
 
 "I  think  the biggest thing  for me was  to try not to  be too cool and speed
 through  it, but  take my time with  the passes and shots," Lillard said after
 the  competition. "And when I'm making a pass, I basically try not to run away
 before it goes in so I don't waste time."
 
 Guard Wesley Matthews is questionable Tuesday with a left-ankle issue.
 
 The  Suns headed  into the  All-Star break  on a  four-game losing  streak and
 questions abound.
 
 Phoenix  will probably try to be one of the most active teams at the NBA trade
 deadline, which is Thursday. They've been linked to reports for Atlanta's Josh
 Smith and New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, but the fact is, the Suns don't
 have many assets to attract trade partners.
 
 The  Suns  are last in  the Pacific and Western  Conference. Jared Dudley is a
 name  that's  been bandied  about in  trade rumors,  but interim coach Lindsey
 Hunter is just focusing on the now.
 
 "Everybody looks good. Appears to be healthy," said Hunter. "I do see signs of
 us starting to get certain things. The goal still remains the same. We'll keep
 building and cultivating what we do."
 
 The  Suns  are 4-8 since  Hunter took  over for Alvin  Gentry and rank 22nd in
 opponents' scoring and 29th in opponents' field-goal percentage.
 
 Phoenix  and Portland have split this season's two matchups with the home team
 winning each time. The Suns have lost seven straight in Portland.
 
 
 02/19 10:32:21 ET