It was Pride Night at the Moda Center and the Blazers celebrated by taking down the Sacramento Kings, 127-116. CJ McCollum had the hot hand for the Blazers, leading all scorers with 33 points. Four out of five Blazers starters scored 20 points or more, including Carmelo Anthony, who enjoyed another good night. Kent Bazemore had breakout game as well, leading the charge off the bench with 15. The Blazers have now won four of their last five games, though each win has been against a sub-par team. Stiffer competition is on the way as the Lebron James Lakers show rolls into town Friday.
The Sacramento Kings are one of the few teams in the league with more problems than the Blazers right now. They're perennially outside the playoff hunt and this year, with a roster brimming with promising talent, they've been plagued by injuries and rough luck. On this night they were without three of their top players, D'Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanović, and Marvin Bagley. Even so, they gave the Blazers trouble, keeping the game close until the final six minutes. The Blazers were on the second night of a back-to-back, recovering from a minor beat-down in LA versus the Clippers. This was a game they needed to win in order to stay relevant, and they did it.
Hassan Whiteside had another good outing, holding down the paint defensively and dishing out a career high seven assists. The Blazers led by two at halftime, 66-64. Here's a look at some of the fan flavor walking the hallways during the break:
Mustaches and lipstick help win games:
These two came for Pride Night:
There were a few Kings fans scattered about. These guys live in Portland now but have roots back in Sac-Town and weren't afraid to show it:
Did we mention it was Pride Night?
Rip City Women:
Okay, back to the game. The Blazers began to get a little separation in the third quarter. CJ McCollum appeared unstoppable and Lillard continually found the right players on offense. He ended the game with 10 assists, which, along with his 24 points, earned him his fourth double double of the season. Richaun Holmes turned in a strong game for the Kings, scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but they didn't really have enough juice to stick with the Blazers. Kent Bazemore hit some key three pointers in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to double digits, a hole from which the Kings never dug out.
The only other thing to report is that Nasir Little got a haircut and looks markedly different without his signature wild 'do. That's him staring hard at the ball in the above picture. The Blazers now sit in 9th place, just outside the playoff picture, but surely knocking on the door. Friday night will bring the biggest game of this young season as a media circus descends on Portland to view the highly anticipated reunion of old friends and rivals Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. Winning will be a tall order for the Blazers, as the Lakers are red hot and currently sitting in first place in the west. But oh, what a sweet victory it could be...