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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 18th (All times Eastern)

Milwaukee Bucks (13-54) at Portland Trail Blazers (43-24), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try not to play down to the level of the Milwaukee Bucks when the two teams collide Tuesday night at the Moda Center.

The Blazers are struggling recently with five losses in the last six tries and opened a three-game homestand with Sunday's 113-112 loss to Golden State. Warriors guard Klay Thompson hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go and helped erase an 18-point deficit in the second half.

Blazers forward Nicolas Batum split a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining, eventually getting his own rebound, but his last-second 3-point attempt fell short.

All five Portland starters scored in double digits and Damian Lillard led the way with 26 points. Batum had 23 and 14 rebounds, while Robin Lopez added 14 points and 10 boards in defeat.

"I don't think this one was really a let up the way the other ones were last week," said Lillard. "This one was just a good team making shots."

Dorell Wright and Wesley Matthews scored 13 points apiece for the Blazers, who are still 24-9 at home and fifth in the Western Conference -- two behind Houston and 1 1/2 ahead of Golden State.

Portland will close the homestand Thursday versus Washington. Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is still out with a lower back issue.

Milwaukee is slated to play its next four games out west against Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers, and has lost five in a row away from home. The Bucks are 5-27 on the road.

The Bucks are winless in four straight and seven of eight games, and suffered a 101-92 loss Sunday versus Charlotte. Brandon Knight and Ramon Sessions scored 21 and 18 points, respectively, for Milwaukee, which has the worst record in the NBA at 13-54.

"We struggled to get stops in the fourth quarter and they stretched the lead out," Knight said.

Milwaukee hopes to have forward Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) Tuesday and he is listed as questionable.

Portland snapped a four-game losing streak to Milwaukee with a 91-82 win on Nov. 20 at the Bradley Center. Aldridge and Lillard scored 21 and 19 points, respectively, for the Blazers.

The Bucks have lost six of nine trips to the Pacific Northwest.

03/18 10:24:47 ET

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