ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com NBA & Trail Blazers Insider
Sacramento,Calif. For the second game in a row, the Portland Trail Blazersdug themselves too huge of a hole to overcome and the SacramentoKings capitalized on it to defeating the Trail Blazers 117-100.
Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts introduced his 2-3 zone tonight and it was attacked successfully by the Kings. They shot 50 percent from long range as they went 11-for-22.
Stotts say their struggles on defense, may have had a negative impact on their overall performance.
"We wanted to work on zone and it probably got us out of sync on both ends of the floor," Stotts said. "I wanted to use this game to work on the zone and see where we were with it."
After Damian Lillard struggled in thefirst half -- 1-for-6 from the field, he made adjustments during halftime andcame back with a 6-for-8 second half performance and ended upfinishing with a team-high 20 points.
Lillard got it going early in the third quarter hitting his patented dribble step-back three that jump-started his night. There was a point in the third where he hut three three-pointers in a row and had a nice and-1 driving layup.
In order for the Trail Blazers to reach their peak this year, Lillard has to play consistently the entire game.
"It's still a process for me. I'm trying to pick my spots when to be aggressive," Lillard. "I'll figure it out."
Aldridgehad 16 points and seven rebounds, Nicolas Batum had 14 points, sixrebounds and five assist, and Wesley Matthews and J.J. Hickson had 11points apiece.
Collectively,the Trail Blazers shot 40 percent for the game and committed 19turnovers. Aldridge, Matthews, and Batum combined to go 13-for-39.
JoelFreeland got the start tonight over Hickson and he didn't play too well. He got lost in a couple of crucial defense assignments and he had an "oops" moment when he tipped the ball out of the basket -- Euroleague style.
It's only the third preseason game for the Trail Blazers so panicking wouldn't be right. Next up for the Trail Blazers is a home showdown with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.