National Basketball Association
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             === Blazers, Kings open home-and-home in Portland ===
 (  - The Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings begin a
 home-and-home series Friday night at the Moda Center.
 "I  definitely don't  like playing one team back-to-back," admitted Portland's
 LaMarcus  Aldridge. "If you  win, there's a sense of a letdown. You have to go
 into it focused and hungry."
 The  Blazers are  1-1 at home thanks  to a 116-101 loss to the Houston Rockets
 Tuesday  night.  Portland only shot 41  percent from the field and the Rockets
 shot a blistering 54.7 percent.
 Damian  Lillard led  the way for Portland  with 22 points, followed by 21 from
 Aldridge.  Wesley Matthews  chipped in  19 points  and Nicolas  Batum had  13.
 Starting  center  Robin Lopez  was held  scoreless in just  over 17 minutes of
 The Blazers didn't get much bench production on Tuesday. It was a huge problem
 for  Portland last  season, but  the second  unit only  contributed 26  points
 against the Rockets.
 The  Kings  have dropped three  straight after opening  the season with a home
 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
 On  Tuesday, the  Atlanta Hawks  came to  Sacramento and  left with  a 105-100
 victory.  The  Kings fell behind  by 17 after three  quarters and staged a big
 comeback in the fourth to fall just short.
 Isaiah  Thomas led  the way  for the  Kings  with 26  points in  just over  28
 minutes. Ben McLemore and Marcus Thornton both had 15, followed by 13 for John
 Salmons and 11 from DeMarcus Cousins.
 One  name you  didn't see among the leading scorers was Greivis Vasquez. After
 he  was  acquired from the New  Orleans Pelicans in the offseason, Vasquez has
 struggled. He only averages 9.0 ppg and against the Hawks, played less than 20
 minutes as compared to the 28-plus for Thomas.
 "Right  now it's a  combination, he's not healthy and he's not playing the way
 he  needs  to play,"  head coach Mike  Malone said of  Vasquez. "If Greivis is
 playing well, he's going to play more minutes."
 "I'm  trying  to make  a play so  hard that I  ain't making anything," Vasquez
 said.  "I'm trying to  make the right pass, I'm trying to get us into sets and
 I'm  not  thinking about my  game. I think  if I just  be myself, that will be
 enough to help my team win."
 The  two teams  split last season's four  meetings with each winning a game on
 the  other's  floor. Sacramento  has dropped nine  of its last  13 in the Rose
 11/08 10:48:52 ET