Lillard-led Blazers use runs, defense to snap skid, beat Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Â Two big runs, one in each half.
An opponent's field-goal percentage under 50.0 percent.
A 42-3 edge in scoring on 3-point shots.
A near double-double for rookie point guard Damian Lillard.
All five starters in double-figure scoring.
Those were five of the leading factors in the Trail Blazers' 103-86 victory over the Saramento Kings Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena.
The Blazers snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 3-5.
"Except for the beginning of the second half, it was a complete game," Portland coach Terry Stotts said.
Portland had a 16-2 run in the first quarter and led 25-18 after one period.
Lillard led the way.
He got the Blazers going by hitting shots early, and from long distance, and he later propelled Portland in the second half after Sacramento had rallied to take a brief lead.
Lillard scored eight of his team's first nine points (making both his 3-point tries in the surge), and he finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field, plus a game-high nine assists.
"We just wanted to come out and get a win," Lillard said.
Lillard had some fans in the building, including his mother, who made the trek from their home in Oakland on the day after her birthday.
Lillard said that was inspiration, but added, "It was bigger than that. It was about the team tonight."
He said the Blazers had been too passive in recent outings.
"I knew that if i came out aggressive, my teammates would come out aggressive, too," he said.
Portland showed some confidence in getting to a quick lead on the second night of a back-to-back, 24 hours after losing at home to Atlanta.
"We just hit it off on the right foot," said Lillard, who went 5 of 6 on 3-pointers.
Stotts said Lillard "bounced back from a tough game (against Atlanta). He took what was there. When you make the shots, it's always impressive. I thought he had a good floor game, too.
"He's a tough guy to guard, and he played a little more under control."
Also for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points as the Blazers looked for him inside, Wesley Matthews had 18 points, Nicolas Batum scored 15, and J.J. Hickson had 10 points with 13 rebounds (his fifth double-double of the season) as the starting five outscored the eight reserves who played 84-19.
Aldridge was iffy to play because of a sore wrist, but he was tough setting screens and more.
"We're a better team when he's on the floor," Stotts said.
Portland made 14 of 27 shots from beyond the arc. Sacramento was 1 of 11.
The Kings tried to offset that with their 54-28 edge in the paint, but it wasn't enough.
It was the fifth time in the last six meetings that Portland has hit the 100-point mark against Sacramento (2-6).
Defense also was a key for Portland. The Kings shot .468 from the floor, and none of their starters hit double figures until the fourth quarter. Starting forward James Johnson, with 16 points, led the home team's production. Off the bench, Marcus Thornton (14 points), Jimmer Fredette (13) and rookie Thomas Robinson (12) were Sacramento's 2-4 scorers.
The Blazers hit .486 from the field, with 20 assists on 35 baskets.
Sacramento, which trailed 46-42 at the half, took a 54-50 lead about 4 1/2 minutes into the third quarter. But Porland countered by outscoring the Kings 24-4 the rest of the quarter to all but put the game way.
"We did a lot of good things defensively," Stotts said, of the Blazers' overall game. "After we gave up those five easy baskets at the beginning of the second half, we tigheened things down and were able to get out and run. We started protecting the rim better and started contesting shots at the rim.''
The Blazers, who made it a 28-4 run with the first four points of the final period, led by as many as 24 points down the stretch as they beat the Kings for the 12th time in their last 15 meetings.
Portland's next two games will be at the Rose Garden Â versus Houston at 7 p.m. Friday and Chicago at 6 p.m. Sunday,