SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—Just making the playoffs isn’t enough for the Portland Trail Blazers. They want to move up as far as possible in the Western Conference.
Portland is fighting San Antonio for the seventh position.
“You want to be the best you can be in the regular season and the regular season is not over,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We have an opportunity to move from the eighth spot to the seventh spot and possibly farther. That’s what we like to do.”
Nicolas Batum(notes) and LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) each scored 21 points for the Trail Blazers, and Marcus Camby(notes) had 15 rebounds. Portland rebounded from a loss at Denver on Thursday night for its 10th victory in 12 games.
“We are playing good basketball and trying to do everything we can to move up,” Roy said. “Teams ahead of us are winning games, too, but we can only control what we can. We’re just going to go one game at a time.”
Beno Udrih(notes) led the Kings with 22 points, Jason Thompson(notes) added 18, and Carl Landry(notes) had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Kings, coming off a five-game trip, have lost seven straight.
The Trail Blazers led 72-69 after three quarters, but Omri Cassipi tied it at 78, and then hit a layup to give the Kings the lead with 7:26 left.
Portland took the lead for good at 85-82 on Batum’s 3-pointer and the Trail Blazers outscored the Kings 13-5 the rest of the way.
“They just hit shots at the end of the game,” Landry said. “Brandon Roy hit some tough shots. The last time we played them, we scored more field goals than them but we still lost so it’s all about execution down the stretch, defense, offense, and we didn’t do all that tonight.”
Portland’s backups scored only seven points.
“We are still going to need our bench,” Roy said. “We are going to need them if we are going to make a run for the playoffs.”
NOTES: The Blazers clinched a playoff spot Wednesday night. … Sacramento dropped to 17-20 at home. The Kings are 7-33 on the road. … Sacramento rookie Tyreke Evans(notes) scored six points in the first quarter and did not make another basket. Evans finished 2 of 12 from the floor and had five rebounds and six assists in 34 minutes.