Damian Lillard had 31 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers held off several charges to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 110-99 Sunday afternoon at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Wesley Matthews may have been bothered by his injured shooting hand during pre-game warm ups, but he did not show it at game time. Matthews scored nine in the first in leading Portland on an early 17-2 run to take advantage of poor shooting by the Kings. Sacramento missed seven shots at one point. Aldridge had ten points of his own, and Robin Lopez added five as the Blazers took an 11 point lead after one.
The level of play for Portland in the second quarter went up and down like a yo-yo. Sacramento cut the lead to as little as four as the Blazers struggled with turnovers and shots that would not stay in the basket. Strong defense by Nicolas Batum and Aaron Afflalo got the road team back into the game, as well as the return of hard-nosed center Joel Freeland after a 23 game absence with a shoulder injury. Batum's aggressive defense did get him in foul trouble, so Alonzo Gee played his first meaningful minutes for the Blazers and responded by scoring four points in the quarter. Lillard led the Blazers with eight, and Portland re-extended their lead to 14 at halftime.
Portland and Sacramento traded baskets for most of the third quarter, with Portland getting ahead by as many as 17 and the Kings trying to keep the game near single digits. Lillard had ten in the period to lead Portland, and the Blazers led by ten after three.
Chris Kaman went to work in the fourth quarter, scoring two baskets with a combination of quick dribbling and a circus shot where he rolled under the hoop and flipped it behind his head without looking [See video!]. The Kings began their counter attack on the back of Derrick Williams. Williams scored twelve quick points and Portland was seemingly unable to stop him from finishing alley-oops. Lillard and Aldridge fought to keep Portland ahead, with an Aldridge put-back keeping the Blazers in the lead by seven with three minutes to play. The Blazers expanded their lead, and the Kings last gasp was snuffed out when Matthews swatted away a Ray McCallum drive with under a minute to play.
Lopez finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Matthews had 17 points. Kaman led the bench scoring with six. Freeland played just two minutes and did not record a shot. Three Kings were whistled for technical fouls: Andre Miller, Ryan Hollins, and coach George Karl, and Robin Lopez was called for a flagrant foul after pushing Reggie Evans [See Video].
Gameday Thread Comment of the Night
The Blazers are trying to win with style, when they should be like the guy playing Street Fighter who just hammers on the same cheesy combo over and over again until he wins.
by Roy Wonder
Damian Lillard passes Klay Thompson for most three ever in first three NBA seasons. Thompson's record didn't last a year.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 2, 2015
Ball game: Blazers beat Kings 110-99. Lillard 31pts and 7ast, Aldridge 26pts, 15rebs; Lopez 15pts, 8rebs. Gay 24pts, Williams 18pts for SAC— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 2, 2015
Blazers with the traditional Sacramento post game meal: In and Out Burger— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 2, 2015
Lopez on scrap with Evans: "A couple of really good basketball players making some non-basketball plays." #Kings #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 2, 2015
Lopez keep it brief when talking about Evans. Told this, he responded: "Yeah. I like to keep it nice and succinct" #Blazers ... Funny guy.— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 2, 2015
Always great to see the fam and get back to cali. Great win tonight! #YeaItsALittleBlurry #NeverSayDie #RIPCITY pic.twitter.com/aGY44RDLaW— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) March 2, 2015
Also glad I got to show @SlamsonTheLion and @PistonsHooper what's what #HappyBirthdayYouFilthyAnimal— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) March 2, 2015