NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 1st (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (48-27) at Los Angeles Lakers (25-48), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers are unbeaten since LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the lineup and target a fourth straight victory Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
Aldridge had missed seven straight games with a balky back and his return got the Trail Blazers on track for a playoff spot. Aldridge has scored 25 or more points twice and has two double-doubles since his return, which resumed with Sunday's 105-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers received 28 points from Aldridge, while Mo Williams (17). Wesley Matthews (15), Damian Lillard (13) and Nicolas Batum (10) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Portland, which made 52 percent from the field and has won three in a row on the heels of a three-game slide.
"Whether he's scoring or not, just getting him touches has a big effect on the game, has a big effect on how the defense reads our offense," Blazers center Robin Lopez said about Aldridge's return. "Having the length back there is big for us. I know it gives me a lot of confidence to go for a few more blocked shots, a few more contests."
Portland, which snapped a five-game slide to Memphis, is fifth in the Western Conference standings -- two games ahead of Golden State with seven to go.
The Blazers are two wins shy of a third 50-win season since 2008-09. They are 21-18 on the road and will start a three-game homestand at the end of the week versus Phoenix, New Orleans and Sacramento.
Los Angeles shoots for its fourth straight home win Tuesday and ended a two- game slide with Sunday's 115-99 beating of the Phoenix Suns.
Chris Kaman had a career-high 28 points on 13-of-19 shooting to go along with 17 rebounds, and has been filling in for Pau Gasol, who is battling a case of vertigo. Jodie Meeks had 22 points, Ryan Kelly added 17 and Kendall Marshall ended with 13 and 11 assists for Los Angeles.
"A lot of guys played really well. Chris (Kaman) came ready to play," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Gasol is probable Tuesday, while Xavier Henry (knee) and Steve Nash (back/knee) are both questionable. Nash has played in only three games since Feb. 11 and the Lakers are 0-4 in his last four appearances.
Los Angeles has split two meetings with Portland this season and is 6-2 in the previous eight games in this series. The Blazers snapped a six-game losing streak at Los Angeles on Dec. 1, but are 4-20 in the last 24 games in L.A.
04/01 10:25:34 ET