The Portland Trail Blazers, once second in the league in 3-point shooting (39.6 percent), have hit a slump. On its four-game road trip heading into the All-Star break, Portland made just 8 of 36 3-point attempts (22 percent), dropping the Blazers to tied for sixth in the league (37.9 percent) with Detroit.

Blame the absence of forward James Jones, who has been out with a sore left knee. Jones, second in the NBA at 48.3 percent shooting from behind the arc, will miss three to five more weeks.

"James' ability to knock down the 3-point shot has been one of the keys to our success," Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard told the Portland Tribune. "Originally, we felt holding him out through the All-Star break would be enough, but after consulting with the medical staff, we feel an additional few weeks of rest is the best course of action."

CLEVELAND: Cavaliers forward and activist Ira Newble got some good news from director Steven Spielberg. The acclaimed movie maker announced he will not serve as an artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Spielberg withdrew because of China's connection to the Sudanese government and the controversy in Darfur. Newble has been active in trying to bring light to the situation in Sudan, even criticizing China and getting some NBA players to sign a letter of protest.


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Last week, Newble spoke with Houston's Tracy McGrady, whose visit to Darfur last summer inspired him to make a documentary.

"That's really powerful, especially for someone as influential as (Spielberg), to pull out of the event," Newble told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's one of the top, if not the best movie director. For him to pull out like that and take a stand shows that he's concerned with what's going on. Hopefully other people will follow his lead."

PHILADELPHIA: The 76ers are interested in point guard Kyle Lowry. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer source, the 76ers were among several teams discussing a trade with Memphis for Lowry, who was a high school star in Philadelphia at Cardinal Dougherty and played two seasons at Villanova. The Grizzlies have rookie point guard Mike Conley, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2007, so Lowry is expendable.

MINNESOTA: Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric is taking full advantage of the All-Star break. He's spending the weekend in the Bahamas with his girlfriend - Brazilian model Adriana Lima of Victoria Secret fame.

"I'm going to have company," Jaric, with a smile, told the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. "It's going to be two of us."