Published January 13, 2015
A pair of teams with playoff aspirations collide Tuesday as the Portland Trail Blazers resume a five-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
Time is running out on the Trail Blazers, who are 3 1/2 games off the eighth and final postseason spot in the West and opened the trek with Monday's 101-100 loss at Philadelphia. LaMarcus Aldridge, fresh of his Player of the Week award, had 32 points and 14 rebounds, while Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard compiled 27 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
Aldridge's fadeaway jumper at the end missed the target.
"We always keep fighting and we always put ourselves in position to win, and tonight we did it again. I just didn't make the shot," Aldridge said.
Nicolas Batum had just nine points for Portland, which entered the night having won two straight and five of eight.
Portland is only 9-24 away from home and still has to visit Chicago, Atlanta and Oklahoma City on the trek -- all playoff-hungry teams.
Milwaukee is also in the mix and sits in the eighth and final postseason spot in the East, just 2 1/2 games behind both the Bulls and Boston Celtics.
The Bucks will end a three-game homestand Tuesday and put the brakes on a three-game losing streak with a 115-109 victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday. Monta Ellis exploded for 25 of his 39 points during a huge fourth quarter and went 13-of-22 from the floor. He also made five 3-pointers.
"It was just one of those days where you're feeling it. The crowd got into it and my teammates had faith in me to give me the ball and I was able to knock the shots down," Ellis said afterward.
Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Brandon Jennings had 15 points and 14 assists for Milwaukee, which has won seven of 11 games and improved to 17-16 as the host. Larry Sanders ended with 13 and 11 rebounds.
After entertaining the Blazers, Milwaukee will hit the road for games against the Hawks and Indiana Pacers.
In injury news for the Bucks, Ilyasova (back/hip) is doubtful Tuesday and Luc Mbah a Moute (turf toe) is expected to miss the game versus Portland.
Milwaukee defeated Portland, 110-104, on Jan. 19 this season in the Rose City and is unbeaten in the past three meetings.