Sacramento (21-42) at Portland (37-28)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Tue Mar 9, 2010
  • TV: CSCA, CSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Portland Trail Blazers turned in one of their worst defensive efforts of the season their last time out, and with it went their three-game winning streak.

Guarding the Sacramento Kings hasn’t proven to be nearly as difficult.

The Trail Blazers look to get back on track Tuesday night when they host the Kings, who have been shut down offensively in losing four straight games against Portland.

Coach Nate McMillan’s team had held its opponents to 87.7 points per game in winning three straight before heading to Denver on Sunday night, but the Trail Blazers struggled at both ends against the Nuggets.

Denver raced out to a 34-21 lead after one quarter en route to a 118-106 victory in which it shot 58.9 percent. Portland (37-28) was held to 42.7 percent shooting.

“We never established an offensive rhythm the entire game,” said Blazers All-Star Brandon Roy(notes), who was 3 of 14. “Even myself, I couldn’t get into the flow. We’d get close and then turn the ball over or we wouldn’t execute offensively and then they would shoot the ball well.”

The Blazers are 4-16 when they allow 100 points, and 5-15 when they shoot less than 43 percent.

After a rough game defensively, however, they’ve been able to bounce back. Portland’s allowed at least 110 points four previous times, and it’s yielded an average of 84.3 points in its next game.

Portland hasn’t had a problem at either end over the past two seasons against Sacramento (21-42). The Blazers have averaged 103.0 points while giving up 87.8 to the Kings in winning the series’ past four meetings, including a 95-88 victory at the Rose Garden on Dec. 15 behind 25 points apiece from Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge(notes).

Tyreke Evans(notes) had 19 points and shot 7 of 9 from the field in that game but scored only three in the fourth quarter with Roy guarding him.

Evans has been solidifying his case as the Rookie of the Year frontrunner lately, scoring at least 20 points in six of the Kings’ last seven games.

He had 24 on Sunday against Oklahoma City, but the Thunder’s 45-33 rebounding edge was the difference in allowing them to escape Arco Arena with a 108-102 victory.

“We played them good, but they really killed us in the rebounding,” Evans said. “They got us on the glass and were able to get second opportunities. That’s what hurt us.”

Sacramento is averaging 95.4 points since the All-Star break - 6.6 lower than was it was scoring before - and part of that problem has been free-throw shooting.

The Kings are the Western Conference’s worst team at the line, and they’re shooting 68.1 percent in their last 11 games. Sacramento is 4-20 when it fails to make at least 72 percent of its free throws.

While Evans hasn’t shown any signs of hitting a rookie wall, the Kings’ other first-round pick has. Omri Casspi(notes) averaged 12.1 points on 47.1 percent shooting before the All-Star game, but he averaged 6.6 points on 38.0 percent shooting in his last seven games before coach Paul Westphal gave him the night off against the Thunder.

Donte Greene(notes) started and scored eight points in his place, but Casspi is expected to play Tuesday.

This will be Portland’s first look at Carl Landry(notes) in a Kings uniform. The former Houston forward, who averaged 17.3 points against the Blazers with the Rockets this season, has scored at least 20 points in three straight games.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Mar 9