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Reply To: NBA • Monday Service Plays • 12/7/15

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Preview: Portland At Milwaukee

When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, December 7, 2015

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Portland Trail Blazers are confident they can pull out of big holes when Damian Lillard gets hot, but avoiding those holes will be important going forward. The Milwaukee Bucks, who host the Trail Blazers on Monday, are rotating their point guards as they try to deal with injuries and matchup issues.

Lillard keyed a comeback from a 17-point deficit and sealed the game in the final seconds of a 109-103 win at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. “We can always count on Dame,” Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters. “If he plays 3 1/2 quarters of ‘not really Damian Lillard basketball,’ we’ve still got confidence that he’s going to be the All-Star and go-to guy that he is.” The Bucks made the decision to move Michael Carter-Williams to a reserve role and stuck with that despite injuries and went with O.J. Mayo as the point guard in Saturday’s 106-91 win over the New York Knicks. “I always try to keep guys involved,” Mayo told reporters “I felt prepared. It’s like a test. Sometimes you may not study and get a little worried, but playing under a coach like (Jason) Kidd, I felt super-prepared, just learning from him.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Northwest (Portland), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (9-12): Lillard scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half on Saturday and is averaging 23.3 points over the last three games after slumping to seven points in a loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 30. “When you have a lot of responsibility and so many games, you just have to accept that some nights it’s not going to be sweet,” Lillard told reporters. “It’s going to be tougher some nights than others.” Lillard is pitching in 8.7 assists while going 17-of-17 from the free-throw line in the last three contests.

ABOUT THE BUCKS (8-13): Milwaukee was without Jerryd Bayless (ankle), Greivis Vasquez (ankle) and Tyler Ennis (shoulder), leaving Mayo to make the rare move to starting point guard. The veteran shooting guard delivered five assists and one turnover while scoring 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting. “You’ve got to tip your hat to (Mayo),” Kidd told reporters. “He got guys in position, and we got a lot of shots inside the arc…I thought he (Mayo) set the tone by running the offense and making sure guys touched the ball.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bucks C Greg Monroe recorded back-to-back double-doubles and three in the last five games.

2. Portland C Chris Kaman (ankle) has missed the last nine games and is questionable.

3. Milwaukee snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 95-88 home win on Jan. 31.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 106, Bucks 101