Basically, the 76ers salvaged this road trip. With the way it began, it looked like a possibly disastrous five-game swing. Instead, the Sixers began playing good basketball, won two in a row over the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings, and then came into tonight's game at the Rose Garden undermanned and, quite frankly, needing some serious inspiration to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers. The team needed to give Andre Iguodala (right knee tendinitis) the night off -- it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So if the Sixers were going to steal this game, they would need a strong, strong performance from Evan Turner (who started in Iguodala's place) and strong performances from some other key guys like Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, maybe even Andres Nocioni. What the Sixers got was only 17 minutes from Turner. He picked up a quartet of fouls, which consistently limited his minutes, and contributed a trio of turnovers alongside his 6 points.

Given that gap in the lineup, as well as below-average games from power forward Elton Brand (10 points) and point guard Jrue Holiday (7 points on 3 for 11 shooting), the Sixers could never get their footing tonight against the Blazers, who were downright awesome. They tried, battling back towards the end of the third quarter, but Portland was just much better.

Portland finished the game shooting 51.4 percent from the floor, 47.8 percent (11 for 23) from three and 86.2 percent (25 for 29) from the line. They scored 36 points in the first half and scored no fewer than 23 points in any quarter.

"Some games you kind of beat yourself, 'Oh, you made too many mistakes,'" explained Brand. "But they played great, they beat us, they made great shots. And their defensive intensity and running the floor, it hurt us."