Trail Blazers blow out Bobcats

PORTLAND — LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and nine rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 88-74 on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-11 forward scored 13 points in the first quarter on 6-of-7 shooting. He has scored in double figures in 34 of his past 35 games.

Portland (28-17) won its third consecutive game, and pulled within 11/2; games of first-place Denver in the Northwest Division.

Portland's Brandon Roy also had a fast start, scoring 13 of his 17 points during the first half. Blazers center Greg Oden had 14 points and 14 rebounds. It was Oden's fourth double-double in six games, and 15th of the season.

Emeka Okafor led the Bobcats with 18 points, and Raja Bell had 16.

Charlotte (19-27) was without its leading scorer, forward Gerald Wallace, who suffered a partially collapsed left lung and fractured rib Tuesday night in a double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Wallace scored 15 points before a flagrant foul by Andrew Bynum knocked him to the floor with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter. Charlotte released a statement Wednesday saying that Wallace had 30 to 40 percent of his left lung collapse as well as a non-displaced fracture of the fifth rib.

Portland trailed only once in the game, at 11-9, and from that point, dominated Charlotte. The Blazers, who hit 12 of 17 shots during the first quarter, took control by finishing the quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 32-18 lead.

Leg weary from Tuesday's double-overtime game against the Lakers, Charlotte was unable to mount a comeback. After the first quarter, the Bobcats never trailed by less than 11 points. Portland led 56-40 at halftime, then all but put the game away late in the third quarter when Aldridge scored back-to-back close range baskets to give the Blazers a 72-52 lead.

Portland clobbered Charlotte on the boards, outrebounding the Bobcats 45-26.

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