Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Undermanned Kings fall to Blazers

Sacramento guard  Marcus Thornton, foreground, battles for the ball with Portland guard Ronnie Price on Tuesday during the visiting Trail Blazers' 103-86 win over the Kings. AP photo

SACRAMENTO — Damian Lillard had 22 points and nine assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers stop a four-game losing streak with a 103-86 victory over the short-handed Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Portland used a strong third quarter to build its lead to 16 points and pushed the cushion to 22 early in the fourth. The Blazers outrebounded the Kings 44-33 and connected on 14-of-27 attempts from 3-point range.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points for Portland and Wesley Matthews had 18. Nicolas Batum had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. J.J. Hickson added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

James Johnson scored 16 points and Marcus Thornton 14 for the Kings, who dropped their third straight.

Jimmer Fredette had 13 points and a career-high six assists, while rookie Thomas Robinson scored 12.

The Kings played their second consecutive game without leading scorer and rebounder DeMarcus Cousins, suspended following a verbal altercation last week with San Antonio Spurs television announcer Sean Elliott. Cousins lost an appeal Tuesday to reduce the suspension to one game.

It didn’t help that the Kings were further depleted, missing starting point guard Isaiah Thomas and backup Aaron Brooks, who injured his left ankle in the first quarter and didn’t return.

A rookie from Weber State, Lillard shot 5-of-6 on 3-pointers in scoring 20 points or more for the fifth time in eight games.

Portland opened the fourth quarter by outscoring the Kings 8-2, hiking its lead to 22 points on a pair of free throws by Matthews. The margin was never less than 17 the rest of the game.

Lillard continued to shoot well in the third quarter following a productive first half. He made all three shots, including a pair of treys, and had eight points in the third for the Blazers, who outscored Sacramento 28-16 to assume a 74-58 lead heading into the fourth.

Trailing by four, the Blazers took control with a 19-2 run over a 5-minute stretch in the third quarter. Batum had seven points, including a corner 3 that capped the spurt and put Portland in front 69-56 with 2:12 left.

Lillard got going early with a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and had 14 points at halftime, helping the Blazers to a 46-42 lead. Fredette had 10 points and four assists for the Kings.

Notes: Portland was 6-of-13 on 3-pointers in the first half and added four more in the third quarter. … Thomas left the team following news that his grandmother had died. … Portland reserves have been outscored 135-29. The Kings had 46 bench points to 19 for the Blazers. … Robinson was back on the court after a two-game suspension for a vicious elbow to the throat of Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko.

The Associated Press

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