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Blazers Head South For First Leg Of Back-To-Back With Kings
The Portland Trail Blazers (8-6) visit California’s capital Friday night for the first of a home-and-home back-to-back affair with the Sacramento Kings (3-11) at Golden 1 Center.
The matchup marks the Trail Blazers first road test in over two weeks following a six-game homestand that saw Portland go 4-2 in that stretch. For the month of November, Damian Lillard leads the Blazers with 24.7 points per game, 7.4 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game. Rounding out Portland’s three-headed offensive monster, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkić have averaged 22 and 18.1 points, respectively, for the month. The Trail Blazers’ have been sparked of late by the play of Shabazz Napier, highlighted by the UConn product’s 5-of-5 night from three-point range in Wednesday’s 99-94 win over Orlando. Friday’s game starts a stretch of six of eight games coming on the road to close-out November.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, if he goes 5-for-5 from three every night, that’s a good thing for us. I’ll go out on a limb and say that’s really good,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts said of Napier’s recent play.
“He gives us a spark… Being able to kind of rest Dame and CJ and see how that goes, I think sometimes it might be tough with lineups, but he’s playing really well.”
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Friday’s contest is a one-game homecoming for Sacramento following a winless three-game road trip on the East Coast as the Kings fell to the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks away from home. In his 17th NBA season and first in Sacramento, former Blazers draft pick Zach Randolph leads the Kings with 13 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Rookie guard De’Aaron Fox is averaging 11.1 points and 4.9 assists to start his NBA career.
Tipoff is set for 7pm Pacific in Sacramento with Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd calling the action and Brooke Olzendam reporting from courtside on NBC Sports Northwest. Brian Wheeler is back in the radio booth to handle the play-by-play from Golden 1 Center on Rip City Radio 620.