Despite the shooting night, the Blazers were led by Damian Lillard, who had a new career high in points (41, with 7 rebounds and 4 assists), with support from LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), Nicolas Batum (11 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) and Robin Lopez (18 points, 7 rebounds).
Lillard's 26 fourth quarter points broke a Blazer record for points in quarter, long held by Terry Porter since 1992.
This was CJ McCollum's first NBA game as an active player (though he did not play), and the Blazers made sure he was initiated:
First Quarter: A fairly quiet quarter. The Blazers shot the lights out, but like a couple recent games, had trouble controlling the ball. Their 5 turnovers prevented any larger runs. However, despite the omnipresent DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento couldn't take advantage. As Will Barton unexpectedly checked into the game late in the first quarter, Portland maintained a small lead, and his three-pointer helped them finish the quarter strong, taking a nice lead into the break.
Portland 35, Sacramento 24
Barton is making me reconsider his place on this team. He seems to be working towards the right things, I have to give credit to Barton being receptive to what he needs to work on, but I really have to give credit to the coaching staff for instilling it in such a way where it was received. Good job everybody.
Second Quarter: The Blazers' bench came in, and suddenly it was 2013 all over again, as they blew the lead in 3 minutes. It was simply a quarter of runs from there, as Portland could not maintain any momentum due to more turnovers. At different points, Lillard and Leonard simply passed the ball directly to Kings players. Thanks to 18 free throw attempts, the Blazers held on to a small lead.
Portland 60, Sacramento 55
We have only take 9 3pt's. That feels low for us as of late. We have been spoiled
Third Quarter: The turnovers continued as Sacramento took the lead. More turnovers led to three-pointers and a Kings 6 point lead. The quarter was a complete mess from there, as the Blazers struggled to get the ball in the hoop, while the Kings made spectacular plays to bring the crowd to their feet. But yet, the Kings struggled to push the lead. Aldridge took shots he hits game after game... and doinked them off the rim repeatedly. They shot 6-22 in the quarter, and growled as they headed to the bench, outscored by 12.
Sacramento 80, Portland 73
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers gave up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, for a Kings three-point play. Rudy Gay followed it with a three-pointer to push the Kings ahead by 13. Another Gay three made it 16, and Portland had dug themselves a big hole. Lillard hit a few threes to help the Blazers make a late run, and Gay fouled out, but the Kings were just on a roll. Every time the Blazers tried to make a run, the Kings would hit a three-point play. The Blazers made one last furious run thanks to more Lillard magic, but they had built too big a hole, and came up short.
Don't get fooled by the final score. This game was much more exhausting to watch than I'm describing here. If it's sitting on your DVR, delete it. Now. Unless you really want to see Lillard go nuts in the fourth quarter of an ugly loss.
For the Blazers, a quick-but-long plane trip home for a date with the Orlando Magic Wednesday night. For us, more from Dave later tonight. -- Tim
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