Blazers, Kings open home-and-home in Portland
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings begin a home-and-home series Friday night at the Moda Center.
"I definitely don't like playing one team back-to-back," admitted Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge. "If you win, there's a sense of a letdown. You have to go into it focused and hungry."
The Blazers are 1-1 at home thanks to a 116-101 loss to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night. Portland only shot 41 percent from the field and the Rockets shot a blistering 54.7 percent.
Damian Lillard led the way for Portland with 22 points, followed by 21 from Aldridge. Wesley Matthews chipped in 19 points and Nicolas Batum had 13. Starting center Robin Lopez was held scoreless in just over 17 minutes of action.
The Blazers didn't get much bench production on Tuesday. It was a huge problem for Portland last season, but the second unit only contributed 26 points against the Rockets.
The Kings have dropped three straight after opening the season with a home victory over the Denver Nuggets.
On Tuesday, the Atlanta Hawks came to Sacramento and left with a 105-100 victory. The Kings fell behind by 17 after three quarters and staged a big comeback in the fourth to fall just short.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Kings with 26 points in just over 28 minutes. Ben McLemore and Marcus Thornton both had 15, followed by 13 for John Salmons and 11 from DeMarcus Cousins.
One name you didn't see among the leading scorers was Greivis Vasquez. After he was acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in the offseason, Vasquez has struggled. He only averages 9.0 ppg and against the Hawks, played less than 20 minutes as compared to the 28-plus for Thomas.
"Right now it's a combination, he's not healthy and he's not playing the way he needs to play," head coach Mike Malone said of Vasquez. "If Greivis is playing well, he's going to play more minutes."
"I'm trying to make a play so hard that I ain't making anything," Vasquez said. "I'm trying to make the right pass, I'm trying to get us into sets and I'm not thinking about my game. I think if I just be myself, that will be enough to help my team win."
The two teams split last season's four meetings with each winning a game on the other's floor. Sacramento has dropped nine of its last 13 in the Rose City.
11/08 10:48:52 ET