Daily Confidential

A visit from the stumbling Portland Trail Blazers might be just what the Sacramento Kings need to help them bounce back from a devastating loss to one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

The Kings look for their fourth straight win over the Trail Blazers when the teams meet at Arco Arena on Saturday.

Sacramento (14-16) trailed the Los Angeles Lakers by 21 points in the third quarter on Thursday before charging back to take the lead, but eventually lost 132-128 in overtime.

The Kings led by four points with 6.7 seconds remaining in regulation, but Mike Bibby and Kevin Martin each missed a free throw in the final few seconds, allowing the Lakers to force overtime.

Sacramento set a team record with 58 foul shots, but the fourth-best free-throw shooting team in the league missed 15 of them.

"In the first half we embarrassed ourselves the way we came out," said Corliss Williamson, who matched a season high with 18 points. "We showed some resilience in coming back, but it was heartbreaking to lose it."

The Kings have not needed second-half comebacks during their three-game win streak over Portland (13-20), winning by an average of 20.0 points. Sacramento has not won four straight over the Blazers since winning seven in a row from Jan. 13, 1974-Feb. 5, 1975.

Portland lost 99-81 to New York on Wednesday for its fourth straight defeat. The Blazers have lost six of seven following a season-high five-game win streak.

"It's difficult to explain or understand what's happening," coach Nate McMillan said. "We were a team that two weeks ago were connected."

Zach Randolph, who averages a team-high 24.0 points, is scoring just 17.8 during the four-game skid. Randolph, though, had 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Sacramento in a 105-85 loss on Nov. 25.

Wednesday's point total matched Portland's season low, and the Blazers are averaging just 85.8 points during their skid. The Kings, meanwhile, are averaging 119.7 points in their last three contests.

Sacramento forward Ron Artest is averaging 29.0 points on 21-of-34 (61.8 percent) shooting in his last two games after scoring just 15 points on 6-of-25 (24.0 percent) shooting in his previous three contests.

Artest had a poor game against the Blazers earlier this season, scoring just three points on 1-of-6 shooting.

Kings center Brad Miller missed Thursday's game with flu-like symptoms, but is expected to be back for this contest.

Sacramento has won 10 of its last 14 games over the Blazers at Arco Arena, where the Kings are just 10-8 this season.

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited