Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan is proud of how his team has overcome adversity and continues to battle for victories. Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal wishes he saw that kind of fight from his players.
The Trail Blazers try to extend their season-high winning streak to six Monday night at the Rose Garden as they go for their ninth consecutive victory over the Kings.
Despite starters Brandon Roy(notes) and Marcus Camby(notes) being out with knee injuries and point guard Andre Miller(notes) leaving in the first quarter with gastroenteritis, the Blazers rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Indiana 97-92 on Saturday.
“We’re hungry. We’re working,” said McMillan, whose team has a chance to win six straight for the first time since Nov. 6-14, 2009. “We’re not giving up or giving in to the adversity we’ve been facing.”
When Miller departed, McMillan turned to swingman Rudy Fernandez(notes) at the point, and he finished with 11 points and a season-high eight assists. Fernandez could get the start Monday if Miller can’t go.
Portland (25-20) faced a seven-point deficit at Sacramento with 6:06 left in regulation Wednesday, but rallied for a 94-90 overtime win. LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) scored 15 of his 23 points after the third quarter and the Kings (9-32) came up short again with the game on the line, scoring nine points in the game’s final 11 minutes.
Sacramento was on its way toward rebounding from that loss Friday at Golden State, but Westphal’s team made one field goal in the final 3:04 of regulation after taking a nine-point lead.
“We were playing well and running our offense as we wanted, but at the end of the game we stopped communicating and trusting each other,” he said following the 119-112 overtime defeat. “When we don’t trust our offense and our teammates we are not going to win ballgames.”
The Kings have lost their last four contests by a total of 17 points and have dropped seven consecutive games decided by seven points or fewer.
Sacramento, 1-15 in its last 16 on the road, has lost four in a row at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers have won 12 of 14 at home and will be looking for more momentum before hosting the league’s top two teams - Boston and San Antonio - later this week. Portland is 2-0 on its five-game homestand.
Third-year forward Nicolas Batum(notes) continues to provide a major lift for the Blazers, who could be without Roy for the rest of 2010-11, despite the star guard saying Saturday that he would like to return this season.
Batum hit four of his career high-tying five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Saturday and finished with 23 points. He scored a season-high 24 on Wednesday.
Aldridge has also been a big factor in helping his team overcome all of its injuries. He is averaging 26.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in January and has 21 double-doubles this season.
Evans scored a career-best 35 points Friday. He averaged 18.5 and shot 53.6 percent in two losses at Portland last season.