Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Sacramento Kings hadn't won a road game all season. But they had the best antidote for their road woes: The Portland Trail Blazers, who haphazardly let the Kings (sans Tyreke Evans) do whatever they wanted en route to a lopsided victory.
LaMarcus Aldridge (17 points, 10 rebounds while in constant foul trouble) and JJ Hickson (14 points, 15 rebounds) finished with double-doubles, and Damian Lillard struggled to a 12 point, 9 assist, 4 turnover night. Wesley Matthews (hip) and Nicolas Batum (aggravated his back) both left the game early.
First Quarter: Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. Turnover. It was an ugly start for the Blazers, as the Kings took a 9 point lead, and Aaron Brooks abused Lillard at both ends. In response, the Blazers turned it over some more. Batum was in pain and left the game. The Blazers responded to that with more turnovers. The quarter ended with the Blazers finally getting a break, stealing the ball from Sacramento. Jeffries promptly passed it to the Kings, who scored just before the buzzer. That was the ninth Blazer turnover of the quarter, and the Kings led by 12 after one.
BATHROOM BREAK TIME
by cloud razor
Second Quarter: The Blazers got some good news on the bench between quarters: They're playing the Sacramento Kings. Luke Babbitt hit two straight three-pointers. However, Meyers Leonard nearly took him out with an elbow as they both went for a rebound. The Blazers slowly crept back into the game, with plentiful missed shots by the Kings. Portland had chance after chance to take the lead, but kept missing; Sacramento returned the favor at the other end. A Matthews three-pointer tied the game, but the Kings scored late to take a two point lead into the locker room.
Do we somehow suck other teams into sucking?
Third Quarter: Batum started the second half. The Blazers didn't though, as both teams returned to first quarter form. The Kings hit 4 open three's in the first three minutes to take a 10 point lead. Hickson helped keep things somewhat close. The Kings held a small single digit margin through most of the quarter, as Aldridge left at the halfway mark with his fourth foul. Every time the Blazers closed the gap, something would go wrong. A poor shot, a bad defensive play, something. Plus, Matthews hurt his hip (and gave up a three-point play in the process). He left for the locker room.A Brooks three bumped the lead back to 10. A struggling Batum hit a three, then drove to the hoop, but committed an offensive foul and landed hard on his back. He left the game. Little-used former Blazer Travis Outlaw gave the Kings a 12 point lead with a dunk, a steal and a jumper, leading a deflated crowd and another Blazer timeout. The lead remained 12 at the end of the quarter.
Outlaw in the game after lots of DNP-CDs. It’s that type of game.
Fourth Quarter: Matthews returned to the game. However, the Kings immediately opened up their largest lead of the game at 14. Aldridge warmed up and cut the lead to 10... only to immediately pick up his fifth foul and leave the game again. And on the next play, Matthews fell to the ground in pain and didn't get back up. Aldridge was forced back into the game as the deficit reached 15 in front of a frustrated Rose Garden. The Blazers cut it briefly to 10, but (guess who?) an Outlaw corner three made it 15 again. After a timeout, Outlaw hit another jumper to make the lead 17, and the rout was officially on.
Summary: No excuses for the Blazers tonight. The Kings were missing a primary scorer due to injury, and played last night. The Blazers simply didn't show up for this game (a troubling trend), and let the below-average Kings overpower and outshoot them all night long. Not to be too depressing here, but if Batum and/or Matthews miss any significant time, this season will somehow get even uglier than it's been so far.
For one night, you can't blame Jeff Van Gundy for not wanting to watch this game.
Stay tuned for Ben's first Media Row Report in eight games later tonight. The next game is Monday night, at home against a team possibly worse than the Kings, the Toronto Raptors. -- Tim