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Portland Trail Blazers Use Defense To Blow Out The Tired Sacramento Kings

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After a tough double-overtime loss the night before, the Sacramento Kings' batteries ran out of juice in the second half, and the Portland Trail Blazers took full advantage, winning 112-97.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (15 points, 13 assists), who found other ways to contribute when his shot stopped falling. He had support from CJ McCollum (18 points, 5 assists), Gerald Henderson (15 points), Allen Crabbe 13 points), Ed Davis (11 points, 4 rebounds), Noah Vonleh (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Mason Plumlee (12 points, 8 rebounds).

With the win, the Blazers jumped into the 8th seed in the Western Conference, thanks to the tiebreaker over these Sacramento Kings.

Uneventful first half for both teams. Each team took small leads in the first quarter, but neither team could open a significant advantage. Lillard's seven assists kept the ball moving around, and the Blazers in the lead. In the second quarter, the Blazers grabbed control, as the bench spread around the scoring to reach a nine point lead. But the quarter had a theme: The Blazers grabbed a lead, and the Kings chipped away. Lather, rinse, repeat. DeMarcus Cousins, on a tear across the NBA, personally kept the Kings within arm's reach. Each time the Kings got close, the Blazers would return the favor with a key bucket. Sacramento kept the score close heading into the locker room.

Halftime: Portland 58, Sacramento 52

In the third, the tired Kings struggled to keep up, and the Blazers built on their lead. Sacramento worked to hit key shots and keep the lead under 10, but Portland would find a three-pointer or layup to keep an advantage. Cousins did his best to keep the Kings close, but one part of his game betrayed him: free throws. He bricked from the charity stripe repeatedly as the fans cheered and the Blazers took advantage. Thanks to another Meyers Leonard three-pointer, the Blazers grabbed significant control when the horn sounded. Along the way, Cousins and Rajon Rondo whapped heads going for a loose ball, and this led to more problems for Sacramento.

End of Third: Portland 88, Sacramento 74

An old friend made a visit as the fourth quarter began: The Blazers' defense. Allen Crabbe pestered the Kings into multiple turnovers, which led to three-pointers from both Crabbe and Gerald Henderson. By the time the second one swished, the Blazers took a 20 point lead and Sacramento needed a timeout. The Kings were running out of energy, and the Blazers simply batted away each comeback attempt. Still up 20 with three minutes left, the Blazers emptied the bench and Sacramento followed suit. The Moda Center fans celebrated a solid victory. Chris Kaman scored his obligatory late-game blowout points.

Box Score

What's Next

The Blazers get another two days off at home, and Nicolas Batum returns to Portland Friday night with the Hornets. But stay tuned, we'll have more analysis of tonight's game from Dave Deckard. -- Tim