Trail Blazers vs Kings Wednesday, 03/02/11 AT 07:00PM

Portland Energizes In Fourth To Down Kings

  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0

    It took a fourth-quarter scare from the Sacramento Kings (15-44), but the Portland Trail Blazers (34-27) rebounded from back-to-back losses to take a 107-102 victory at Power Balance Pavilion on Wednesday night to take the series 2-1.

    Portland carried a six-point advantage into the final period, but the Kings used a 13-6 run to take a brief 86-85 edge.

    After both sides exchanged leads and eventually knotted the score up at 95, Nicolas Batum gave the Trail Blazers the advantage for good with a three-pointer. Portland received an alley-oop dunk from Gerald Wallace and a LaMarcus Aldridge jumper to space themselves from the opposition.

    "We showed film of last night's game and we tightened it up today," Head Coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought it was a challenge to a lot of the guys to get down and get in a defensive stance and play some ball. I thought guys responded well tonight."

    Of the eight that saw action for Portland, six players tallied double digits, led by Wesley Matthews' 21 points - 11 of which came in the fourth. Aldridge posted 20 points and 10 boards, Andre Miller added 19 points and six assists, and Batum finished with 17 points.

    "It's good. We needed it," Matthews said of the win. "The way we got it, we played tough the whole game. We stretched it out in the first half... They came back at us in the third quarter. We just battled from then on and we were able to pull away and make our own plays, which is the key to our success."

    Marcus Camby snared a game-high 13 rebounds, while Patty Mills registered 14 points and three assists in 14 minutes. Wallace chipped in with 12 points and five boards.

    DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton carried the load for the Kings. Cousins tied his career high with 28 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, while Thornton recorded 26 points as a reserve.

    "Early on shots were falling and [teammates] gave me the ball in spots I could be effective," Thornton said. "But, things we had to do down the stretch to win big games, we didn't do tonight, and it cost us in the end."

    The Trail Blazers allowed the Kings to shoot 53 percent from the floor, but Portland forced 16 Sacramento turnovers - 11 of them steals - and converted them into 25 points while also holding the Kings to eight points off turnovers.

    "You have to go get the ball. Put your head in there and get the ball," McMillan said. "I thought we did that; we made those plays."

    Sacramento Head Coach Paul Westphal said that, although his squad played good basketball, the game's decision really came down to turnovers.

    "For the most part I think this was an example of an experienced team jumping on the mistakes at the opportune time that the inexperienced team made," he said. "Even though we did a lot of good things, we couldn't come away with a win because of that."

    After a turnover on its first posession of the game that led to a Trail Blazer field goal, Sacramento strung together a 9-2 run, hitting three out of five attempts in the process to take a 9-4 lead.

    Portland, on the other hand, missed eight of its first 10 shots, before Miller received a feed from Aldridge for a close look, trimming the deficit to 13-9 midway through the quarter.

    Miller's lay-up sparked a 10-2 rally that he also capped with a steal and finish following a pair of Batum free throws to put the Trail Blazers back on top 19-15.

    In the second, Batum picked off a Thornton pass and finished with a powerful jam on the other end to finish off an 11-0 string that propelled the Trail Blazers to a 47-40.

    Cousins and Thornton combined to score the first 14 points for the Kings in the second half - eight from Cousins - anchoring a rally that saw Sacramento narrow the gap to three points at 70-67.

    In the fourth and in transition, Jason Thompson collected himself for a jump shot that gave the Kings their first lead of the second half at 86-85, capping a 13-6 run.

    Portland responded, grabbing a 98-95 lead with a Batum trey then adding to it when Matthews picked Beno Udrih's pocket on the next possession and lobbed it to Wallace, who threw it down to give the Trail Blazers a five-point edge with 2:29 to go in the game.

    Aldridge later canned just his second field goal of the second half to extend the lead to seven points with less than a minute remaining. Five Portland free throws sealed the win.

    The Trail Blazers return to the Rose Garden for a home game against the Charlotte Bobcats (26-34) on Saturday night.

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