The last time the Sacramento Kings won in Portland, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was a rookie.
The Kings will attempt to halt that dubious 11-game skid when they visit the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Lillard is now in his eighth season, and the only time he was part of a loss to the Kings in Portland was when Sacramento posted a 99-80 victory on Dec. 8, 2012.
He will enter this latest meeting looking to rebound from a 5-of-15 shooting performance in which he scored 16 points in a 117-97 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
“We won three in a row before tonight, but I think tonight was a chance for us to play against one of the elite teams in the league, to really measure where we are,” Lillard told reporters after the team failed to win what would have been a season-best fourth straight. “They came out and had a great night and put us away, but I think a lot of the things we’re doing on both ends of the floor as a group are going to give us a better chance going forward.”
The Trail Blazers are just 8-13 this season after going 53-29 last season and reaching the Western Conference finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors.
This season just reached the quarter pole for Portland, so there is plenty of time to rebound, but the club hasn’t displayed the same cohesiveness that it did last season.
“We’re a work in progress, obviously,” said shooting guard CJ McCollum, who scored 20 against the Clippers for his ninth straight outing of 20 or more points. “Trying to figure things out and trying to sustain a high-level of play consistently. We have spurts — 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes — but the good teams, they play an elite level of basketball for extended periods of time, and they have the ability to go on a run.”
Forward Carmelo Anthony experienced his lowest-scoring output in seven games since joining the squad with nine points on 2-of-9 shooting against the Clippers. Anthony averaged 22.3 points during Portland’s three-game winning streak
Sacramento (8-11) is beginning a four-game road trip after suffering a disappointing 113-106 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
The Kings held an 11-point lead nine-plus minutes into the contest, but the Bulls recovered to take an 11-point halftime lead en route to the victory.
“We took them lightly. We didn’t respect them enough,” shooting guard Buddy Hield said afterward. “We were up by 11 and we got too cool. When you give a team confidence, they come back to bite you quick.”
Hield scored 26 points in the game and is averaging 27.5 over the past four games.
Meanwhile, sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic is battling a hamstring injury that he suffered while establishing career highs of 31 points and seven 3-pointers against the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 19.
Bogdanovic is attempting to play through the ailment, but he has been visibly affected in recent games. He played just 22 minutes against the Bulls and scored 11 points.
“This hamstring cannot get worse than it is now, but I struggle with it,” Bogdanovic told reporters. “It hurts all the time. When I bend, it’s there, the pain is there. But it’s something I have to deal with, I have to play with consistent pain, but no excuses.”
Bogdanovic doesn’t want to miss time with point guard De’Aaron Fox (ankle) and power forward Marvin Bagley III (thumb) sidelined, so coach Luke Walton has cut back his minutes.
“It’s pretty clear how much we rely on what he does for us, so he feels good, he wants to keep playing and our medical staff feels confident about it, so we’ll stay with it,” Walton told reporters. “As he continues to get healthier, those minutes will get bigger.”
Bogdanovic recorded 25 points and 10 assists as the Kings notched a 107-99 home win over Portland on Nov. 12. He scored 16 points in a 122-112 loss to the Trail Blazers on Oct. 25, a game also played in Sacramento.
Lillard scored 35 points in the Portland victory and is averaging 31 against the Kings this season.
–Field Level Media