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Trail Blazers v. Kings preview: Finally, a familar face in a familiar place

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    There's no rest for the road-weary Portland Trail Blazers at this point of the condensed NBA regular-season schedule, as the team returns from a six-game trip that included two back-to-backs and kicks off a stretch of three games in as many nights Monday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden against the Sacramento Kings.

    The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

    Portland (9-7) defeated Sacramento 101-79 on Dec. 27 in the second win of a 3-0 start to the 2011-12 season that included wins over Philadelphia and Denver.

    Since sweeping the opening back-to-back at home against the Sixers and Kings, Portland has lost three consecutive times in back-to-back situations on the road and is coming off a 2-4 road trip that leaves the Trail Blazers fourth in the Northwest division and percentage points out of the final playoff spot in the West.

    Asked about the team's mentality after their 94-91 loss in Detroit Saturday, center Marcus Camby described it as "up and down."

    "We're frustrated but we have to figure out a way to win them back-to-back. I think that's been our downfall all season," Camby said. "When we get back to Portland we have back-to-back-to-back so we're not looking too far ahead.  We just have to regroup tomorrow and concentrate on Sacramento."

    Sacramento (6-11) is coming off a 128-95 loss at Memphis Saturday and has shown a propensity for getting blown out already this season, with six of their 11 losses coming by 20 or more points.

    All the more reason for the Trail Blazers to try getting up early against the Kings, something Portland failed to do against the then 3-13 Pistons Saturday in Detroit, falling behind by as many as 16 points before making a second-half run that came up just short.

    "You can’t flip a switch in this league and I thought we tried to flip a switch against these guys tonight and that’s not going to work. You have to come in being ready to play," Portland coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "You don’t allow any team to get confidence regardless of what their record is whether its good or bad."

    Following Monday's game, Portland hosts the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, 7 p.m. (CSN, 750 AM), then travels to the Bay Area to play the Golden State Warriors Wednesday, 7:30 p.m (KGW, 750 AM).


    • Portland has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Kings, including the last five in Sacramento.
    • Portland’s 107-102 win against Sacramento on March 2 marked the first time the Kings had reached the century mark against Portland since a 103-86 victory to close the 2007-08 season series.
    • After last season’s 94-90 overtime win in Sacramento on Jan. 19, the Trail Blazers are 14-3 all-time against the Kings in games that require overtime.
    • Nicolas Batum averaged 19.0 points (57.1% FG) in three games against Sacramento last season, his second-best scoring average against any team in 2010-11. He averaged 15.3 points in three games against Sacramento in 2009-10, which was also his second-best average against any opponent that season (minimum two games). Batum has averaged 13.4 points in nine career games against the Kings, more than four points better than his career scoring average (9.1).
    • Eight Kings players averaged at least 9.0 points in their appearances vs. the Trail Blazers last season. In two games, Tyreke Evans posted averages of 21.0 points (55.2% FG), 7.0 assists and 2.50 steals.

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