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Blazers get back on track, whip Jazz

Wallace scores 29 as Portland reclaims sixth in West
by: MELISSA MAJCHRZAK Gerald Wallace of the Trail Blazers puts up an inside shot, with Utah's Earl Watson and other Jazz players watching, en route to his game-high 29 points Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY - The Trail Blazers didn't take long to put one of their most embarrassing losses of the season behind them.

With Gerald Wallace leading the way, Portland led almost from start to finish in a 98-87 victory over Utah Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

It was a much different scene than two nights earlier at the Rose Garden, when Golden State outscored Portland 61-40 in the second half en route to a 108-87 victory.

Wallace scored 29 points as Portland (46-33) moved into sole possession of sixth place in the West, a half-game ahead of New Orleans (45-33) and a game and a half ahead of Memphis (44-34).

Wallace sank 4 of 6 from 3-point range during his 43-minute stint.

"The guys want me to shoot. The coaches want me to shoot," Wallace said. "I just play with the flow, especially with this team. It's a lot easier. In Charlotte, I had to be the spark. I had to be the one getting us going offensively."

Back at power forward as Marcus Camby sat out the game with a neck injury, Wallace scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half, making 10 of 18 shots from the field, and grabbed eight rebounds.

Nicolas Batum, starting at small forward after coming off the bench the previous three games, added 21 points in 9-for-13 shooting. Wesley Matthews contributed 18 points and seven rebounds while LaMarcus Aldridge made only 6 of 19 shots but had his 34th double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes.

"We have five scorers on the court almost all the time," Matthews said.

Point guard Andre Miller needed two assists to become the 14th NBA player with 7,000 in his career - and he finishd with 12. Next ahead of Miller on the all-time list are Tim Hardaway (13th, 7,095) and former Blazer star Terry Porter (12th, 7,160).

The Blazers led by as many as 15 points and withstood a couple of faint Utah rally attempts. Portland was on top 27-18 after one quarter, 49-42 at the half and 79-67 going into the third quarter.

NOTES: Portland's next action is Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Rose Garden. The Lakers (55-23) come in with a three-game losing streak, having fallen to Denver, Utah and Golden State in succession. ... Brandon Roy scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter on Thursday . It was only the second time in 12 games Roy has scored in double figures. ... Rudy Fernandez continued to struggle, going 0 for 4 from the field and committing four turnovers in 14 minutes off the bench. Fernandez has scored in double figures only once in the last eight games and is 1 for 13 shooting in the last two outings. ... Miller had five points and made 1 of 9 shots from the field. ... Camby did not travel. ... The Blazers enjoyed a rare lead over an opponents in fastbreak points, outscoring Utah 14-9.

Utah (37-42, 20-20 at home) was assured of its second losing season in the past 28 years. ... Devin Harris, who had missed five games with a strained hamstring, led the Jazz with 26 points and five assists. He tied his career high with five 3-pointers, but Utah shot .419 from the field to Portland's .456.

Also on tap Friday: Phoenix is at New Orleans, and Sacramento visits Memphis.