The Sacramento Kings haven’t experienced much success with Portland of late but will be looking for a home-and-home sweep when they visit the Trail Blazers on Saturday. Sacramento held Portland to its lowest scoring output of the season during the front end and the 86-82 decision marked only their second victory in the last 10 meetings with the Trail Blazers.
Portland has won eight consecutive home games against the Kings and will try to bounce back from a showing in which it shot 37 percent from the field and didn’t score more than 22 points in any single quarter. “We put ourselves in a position where it was a back-and-forth game,” said Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, “but they had the lead and we needed to make a few more plays than they did and we just weren’t able to do that.” Sacramento halted a three-game slide with Friday’s win and also washed away some of the residue of Wednesday’s embarrassing 126-80 loss to the Atlanta Hawks - the 46-point margin of defeat was the sixth-worst in franchise history. Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield (sprained right ankle) departed midway through the fourth quarter Friday and was on crutches afterward, and is doubtful for the rematch.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Sacramento), NBCSN Northwest (Portland)
ABOUT THE KINGS (4-11): Third-year center Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench for the first time this season Friday and he responded with 22 points to go with 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the campaign. Cauley-Stein averaged 5.7 points on 7-of-24 shooting over the previous three games but was the top player on the floor in the fourth quarter when he scored 13 points. “It’s fun playing like that,” Cauley-Stein said afterward. “It’s fun when the ball is going in. It’s fun when everybody is doing well. It makes your job easy.”
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (8-7): Shooting guard CJ McCollum averaged 29 points against the Kings last season but he pointed the finger toward himself Friday when he scored 19 points but missed all four 3-point attempts and committed four turnovers. “We’ve got to knock down open shots, finish in transition,” McCollum told reporters. “I think I had four turnovers, a couple turnovers I shouldn’t have had but overall we’ve just got to do a better job.” Lillard scored 29 points but was a shaky 9-of-25 shooting and has shot 36 percent or lower from the field in three of the past five games.
1. The Kings are 11-56 in Portland during the franchise’s Sacramento era.
2. Portland C Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 7.5 points on 7-of-22 shooting in the past two outings after averaging 19 points over the previous two games.
3. Sacramento PF Zach Randolph was scoreless Friday after averaging 14 points over the previous two contests.
PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 128, Kings 109