CK Press Box Report: Kings 104, Trail Blazers 103

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham


Thanks to the heroics of Marcus Thornton and Terrence Williams, the Sacramento Kings ended a season-high seven-game losing streak by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-103, at Power Balance Pavilion.

“No matter who the opponent was, we needed this win,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart after the Sunday victory. “And the young men found a way to do it.  Based on everything that happened with our franchise this week and the way it has been with our team in the past two weeks, we found a way.”

After climbing out of an eight-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter, Williams was subbed into one of the game’s final defensive possessions.  The Kings reserve forward made a timely steal that led to a lay-up by Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.  The Blazers’ Wesley Matthews responded with a corner three in front of the Kings’ bench to take a 103-102 lead.  But Thornton would seal the game’s outcome by hitting a 17-foot jumper with 3.4 seconds left to seal the Kings’ victory.

For the second time this season, three Kings’ players tallied at least 20 points.  Cousins recorded 23 while Thornton and Tyreke Evans finished 20 points each.  Former King J.J. Hickson recorded his fifth double-double in a Blazers uniform, finishing with 10 points and a season-high-tying 13 rebounds.

With the win, the Kings improve their home record to 15-15 and their overall standing to 20-41.  They host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Notes and Analysis

  • After scoring just four points in the first half, Cousins came alive in the third and fourth quarters, finishing with 23 points and seven rebounds for the Kings.  While his offensive numbers looked good, he grabbed only seven rebounds on the night and all but two came in the first half.
  • Marcus Thornton walks away the hero in this one.  The Kings leading scorer on the season, put up eight of his 20 points in the fourth, including the game winner with 3.4 seconds remaining.
  • Rookie Isaiah Thomas played steady as usual, finishing with 18 points and eight assists.  Thomas should coast to a top three finish in Rookie of the Year balloting and might even sneak into the top two.
  • Evans had a nice game, finishing with 20 points in 42 minutes of action.  Coach Smart stayed with Evans and Thornton for the entire second half tonight in an effort to snap the Kings’ seven-game skid.
  • The Kings scored 58 points in the paint to the Blazers’ 30.  Over the course of their last three games, Sacramento had averaged just 40 points in the paint.
  • The Kings recorded 25 assists.  Chuck Hayes came off the bench to dish six of them, picking apart the Blazers defense from the high post.
  • Matthews was a star tonight for Portland.  The 25-year old guard out of Marquette scored 31 points on 10-for-16 from the field and hit all but two of his 10 3-point attempts.
  • Portland went 16-for-32 tonight from long range.  Half of those bombs came from Matthews.  The Kings countered with a 8-for-19 (42 percent) evening.
  • A fun fact related to the threes: 11 more 3-point shots were made in this game than free throws.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings finished with only six turnovers tonight, which led to only two Portland points.  The Blazers countered with 17 turnovers, which led to 19 points for the Kings.

Video shot by Tobin Halsey.


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