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Wallace Crashes Kings Hopes For Road Win

12/28/11
  1. Written by: trailblazers

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Gerald Wallace had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-79 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd of 20,350 at the Rose Garden.

    "Gerald, his energy was great. Whenever I’ve been able to get him at the four, he’s doing some aggressive things – trapping, running," said Portland head coach Nate McMillan. "With Gerald and Nic (Batum) on the floor it really gives us a lot of speed and that combination, in this short season, has been pretty good for us. He’s just all over the place, providing that energy, that toughness on the boards, blocking shots."

    LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Blazers (2-0). Nicolas Batum added 15 points and five rebounds off the bench.

    But the hero of the night for the Trail Blazers was Wallace, who has lived up to his nickname, "Crash," in the first two games of the season. The 6-9 forward was the only Trail Blazer who seemed ready to play in the first quarter.

    "(Wallace) was big for us," said Aldridge. "When we had dead moments, he made something happen. He either got an offensive rebound and put it back or just went to the basket and got fouled. I thought that was big for us tonight."

    DeMarcus Cousins led the way for Sacramento (1-1) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Thornton added 14 points and Jason Thompson had 11. The Kings struggled from the field in the second half and committed 23 fouls and 20 turnovers for the game.

    "At this stage of our development, it’s very clear we got beat by a better team tonight," said Sacramento head coach Paul Westphal. "They were more together, more solid, at both ends of the floor. They were on the same page. We had our moments and then we fell apart. We will get better. I like our team a lot, but this was a step in our development that was painful. But I believe we’ll learn from it and be a better team."

    Both teams were playing after opening their seasons on Monday. The Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-91 behind Thornton's 27 points. Portland managed a 107-103 win over Philadelphia.

    Sacramento's inexperience showed as Portland pulled away in the second half thanks to the Kings making just 9 of 38 shots after halftime.

    "I thought the defense picked up," said McMillan of his team's improvement in the second half. "We got to our tempo. We started to get some stops defensively then we started to get out and run. The first half, that team shot 50 percent, pretty much got what they wanted, got to the rim. They had a number of uncontested attempts at the rim. I thought we were stagnant the first half, but defense turned up which led to some transition and then we were able to get out and score some points."

    The Trail Blazers took a 76-65 lead on the first basket of the fourth. Batum finished a fast-break with a layup to make it 88-73 with 4:38 remaining. The Kings had just 14 points in the final quarter.

    Tuesday night's victory also featured the first appearances of both Craig Smith, acquired in free agency, and Elliot Williams, who missed all of last season after double knee surgery.

    The Trail Blazers host the Denver Nuggets Thursday night before heading out on the road for the first time this season. Tipoff is schedule for 7 PM.

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