Bucks at Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers hit their high-water mark nine days ago, upending the reigning champion Miami Heat to extend their win streak to four games and move a season-high five games above .500. Portland has not won since and will look to avoid a season-worst fifth straight defeat when it hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. The Trail Blazers have faced some tough competition, sandwiching road losses at Golden State and Denver around a home defeat to Oklahoma City. They are coming off a home loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.
Milwaukee knows something about ending streaks, putting a halt to a 26-year drought in Phoenix by beating the Suns 98-94 on Thursday. The victory snapped a 24-game skid in the desert and lifted the Bucks' record to 4-2 since Jim Boylan replaced Scott Skiles. Milwaukee, which is playing the finale of a four-game road trip, trampled the Trail Blazers in both meetings last season, including a 116-87 victory at Portland in March.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Wisconsin (Milwaukee), KGW (Portland)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (20-18): Larry Sanders leads the league in blocked shots at 3.3 per game and has excelled on the backboards, but he supplied a surprising contribution at the offensive end by scoring a career-high 19 points to go with 15 rebounds against the Suns. Sanders also rejected two shots and has blocked at least one in 25 consecutive games while swatting an average of 3.9 in nine games this month. Milwaukee boosted its league-best total with 11 blocked shots vs. Phoenix, including three by Mike Dunleavy.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (20-19): Portland's last four losses have come by a total of 19 points, with the largest margin of defeat six points. One of the biggest problems is the continued meager production from the bench, which has combined for 25 points over the last three games. All five of the Trail Blazers' starters are averaging in double figures, but no other player has contributed more than 4.7 points per game. Forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the team's leading scorer (20.6), has seven double-doubles in his last 10 games.
1. Portland had won nine straight at home before dropping its last two.
2. Bucks leading scorer Monta Ellis continues to struggle from behind the arc, connecting on 6 of 29 3-point attempts in January.
3. Blazers rookie PG Damian Lillard is struggling with his shooting, going 12-for-38 and averaging 12.7 points in his last three.