Trail Blazers vs Kings Wednesday, 03/02/11 AT 07:00PM

Portland Searches For Rhythm In Sacramento

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 4.0

    The start of the second half of the season hasn't treated the Portland Trail Blazers kindly, with Portland dropping three out of four games since the All-Star break - all of them occurring at the Rose Garden.

    The Trail Blazers (33-27) will need to quickly shake off their most recent defeat against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, after which Head Coach Nate McMillan said, "I don't recognize that team." The Sacramento Kings (15-43) await at Power Balance Pavilion, formally known as Arco Arena, for a matchup with Portland on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM.

    Projected to start for the Trail Blazers are Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller.

    Portland never seemed to find a rhythm against the Rockets, virtually trailing from wire to wire, allowing Houston to shoot nearly 58 percent from the floor, as well as being outscored 52-26 in the paint en route to a 103-87 loss.

    Batum paced Portland with 22 points and shooting 3-for-6 from three-point range. Gerald Wallace posted his first double-double as a Trail Blazer with 14 points and 10 boards, while Miller finished with 13 points and six assists. Aldridge, however, was held to 14 points and just three rebounds.

    The Kings haven't found much success either, losing 10 out of their last 13 games. Sacramento, however, is coming off a 105-99 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, when the Kings held a 59-49 rebounding advantage and hit 47.5 percent of their attempts to claim a win.

    In its first of of a brief two-game homestand, Sacramento received useful production from its newest member in Marcus Thornton. Making his home debut, Thornton poured in a game-high 29 points off the bench, while Beno Udrih added 19 points and seven assists.

    So far this season, Portland and Sacramento have each posted victories in each other's arenas, with the Kings crashing the Rose Garden on Jan. 24 with a 96-81 rout that was preceded by a 94-90 overtime win for the Trail Blazers.

    In the first meeting of the season, Aldridge netted 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, while Batum posted a season-high 24 points to help lift the Trail Blazers to an overtime win in Sacramento. Miller chipped in with 20 points, six assists and six boards in a game that saw neither squad lead by more than eight points.

    Udrih wast he high-point man for the Kings, tallying 20 points, while Tyreke Evans put up 16 points and eight assists.

    With eight-straight victories over the Kings under its belt, Portland looked for No. 9 on Jan. 24 when it hosted Sacramento. The Kings led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but the Trail Blazers stormed back. Behind Evans, however, Sacramento pulled away yet again, sealing a 96-81 win. Evans finished with a game-high 26 points.

    For Portland, Matthews led the way with 21 points. Batum contributed with 16 points and nine rebounds, but the Trail Blazers shot just 39.5 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times, resulting in 31 Sacramento points.

    Greg Oden and Elliot Williams will be unavailable for Portland, while McMillan has also instructed Brandon Roy not to participate in second games of back-to-backs.

    Coverage of Wednesday's game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, as well as 95.5 FM The Game with Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey.

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