Kings roll past Trail Blazers, 96-81
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Sacramento Kings used a balanced offense to cool off the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Tyreke Evans had 26 points, six rebounds and six assists to lead Sacramento to a 96-81 win over Portland. The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Blazers.
The Kings had five players score in double figures.
Carl Landry had 16 points and eight rebounds for Sacramento. Guard Beno Udrih and DeMarcus Cousins scored 14 points each. Omri Casspi scored 12 points, all in the second half.
Wesley Matthews led Portland with 21 points. Andre Miller added 18 points for the Blazers (25-21).
The Kings (10-32) came into Portland having lost seven of their past eight games, but were playing competitive. Three of the seven losses came in overtime, including a 94-90 defeat to Portland last Thursday. Only one of the seven losses was by double figures.
Monday’s win was Sacramento’s fourth on the road this season.
“This is huge, especially for us,” Udrih said. “We’ve been right there … going into the fourth quarter with a lead and just blowing the game, so it’s been pretty frustrating. To see what we did today against a playoff contending team feels great.”
One key to Sacramento’s win was its defense on Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Blazers’ forward, who was selected the Western Conference player of the week on Monday, was held to nine points. Aldridge, who shot 4 of 14 from the floor, failed to score in double figures for the first time in 26 games.
The Kings’ primary defender on Aldridge was Samuel Dalembert, who had four blocked shots in 27 minutes. But the 6-foot-11 Dalembert received help when Aldridge moved into a position to make an offensive move.
“We mixed up the double teams and tried to make him play in a crowd as much as possible,” Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said.
Portland coach Nate McMillan credited Dalembert.
“They pretty much played (Aldridge) straight up with Dalembert and made him score over the top,” McMillan said. “He’s long. … he basically had a big presence on the defensive end of the floor.”
Evans, last season’s NBA rookie of the year, was a consistent offensive presence. Evans scored 15 points during the first half, and nine during a fourth quarter in which the Kings outscored Portland 26-16.
“That’s the kind of game that Tyreke can have when his feet don’t hurt so bad,” Westphal said.
Sacramento shot 50 percent (38 of 76) in the game, while holding Portland to 39.5 percent shooting (34 of 86).
McMillan said it appeared Portland was missing the edge it had during its five-game winning streak.
“We played as if we could flip a switch here and that team got their confidence. We just didn’t have the sharpness tonight,” McMillan said.
The teams traded the lead several times during the third quarter before Sacramento took control. The Kings finished the quarter on a 7-2 run, then scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to regain a double-digit lead at 75-65.
Sacramento was unable to put the game away because of Miller, scored eight consecutive points for the Blazers during the fourth quarter.
But the Kings countered Portland’s rallies, particularly Evans, who hit a 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining to give Sacramento an 88-79 lead.
Sacramento led 25-20 after the first quarter and built a 13-point lead during the second quarter.
Matthews and Miller helped Portland rally, scoring all of the points during an 11-2 run to pull the Blazers within 39-35.
The Kings led 45-43 at halftime.
Notes: The Blazers signed center Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract Monday. The 6-foot-11 Johnson averaged 17.2 points and 9.7 rebounds for Dakota of the NBA’s Developmental League. … The win was Sacramento’s second on the road in its past 17 games. … The Kings snapped an eight-game losing streak to Portland. Portland’s Dante Cunningham tied a career high with four blocked shots.
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