March 2, 2011
PORTLAND (33-27) vs.
Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California
SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings have a new name for their home arena, but it isn't clear if they'll play there after this season.
While that relocation drama plays out over the next two months, the Kings will try to build on an emotional home victory and deny the Portland Trail Blazers a fifth consecutive road win Wednesday night.
Sacramento (15-43) will play its first game at Power Balance Pavilion when it hosts Portland (33-27). That comes after the NBA gave the Kings until April 18 to decide if they plan to relocate before next season.
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The franchise is in talks with Anaheim, which is looking for an NBA team to share the Honda Center with the NHL's Ducks. In response, Sacramento fans organized a "Here We Stay" campaign and packed the former Arco Arena for Monday's 105-99 comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
"We just wanted to go out there and play well and win the game for our fans," forward Omri Casspi said after the team's second sellout this season. "We talked about it with (coach Paul Westphal) and it was important for us to come and play aggressive and play well."
Marcus Thornton had 16 of his season-best 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead his team to its third win in 13 games and snap a five-game home losing streak.
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The guard is averaging 19.3 points in three games since coming over from New Orleans in a trade. Thornton was averaging 7.8 points in 46 games with the Hornets.
"They got me the ball in spots where I can be effective," Thornton said. "This is a young team that likes to have fun. It's been easy for me to get acclimated real fast."
It's unknown if the Kings' renamed arena will see another capacity crowd and the Kings could have a little trouble earning another win there against the Blazers.
Portland enters this game tied for seventh in the Western Conference and is on its longest road win streak in one season since taking five in a row Nov. 1-14, 2009.
The Blazers, though, have lost three of four overall and were handled 103-87 by visiting Houston on Tuesday night. Portland failed to top 88 points in the second straight game after averaging 104.1 over its previous eight.
"We've been a team that scrapped and had movement and energy and hustle," coach Nate McMillan said. "Our last two games, we haven't been close to that."
The Blazers also struggled offensively in their previous meeting with the Kings, shooting 39.5 percent in a 96-81 loss Jan. 24. That defeat snapped Portland's eight-game win streak over Sacramento.
Leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (22.3 ppg) registered only nine points in the loss and had one of his worst performances since that game Tuesday with 14 points. He's averaged 16.5 on 44.0 percent shooting in his last two games after averaging 31.9 on 59.3 percent shooting in his previous seven.
Aldridge scored 23 points and Nicolas Batum had a season-high 24 in a 94-90 overtime win over the Kings on Jan. 19, Portland's fourth in a row in Sacramento.