Kings beat Blazers for first road win

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Kings beat Blazers for first road win

PORTLAND, Ore. -- DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds, John Salmons added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 99-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Aaron Brooks had 14 points for the Kings, who have won three in a row for the first time this season. Francisco Garciaand Jason Thompson added 12 each. All five starters finished in double figures as the Kings overcame a dismal second quarter and steadily pulled away, outscoring Portland by 19 points in the second half.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 rebounds and J. J. Hickson added 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews scored 14 points, but suffered a left hip contusion and did not finish the game.

Nicolas Batum played for Portland despite dealing with a back strain, but he appeared to be in pain while scoring five points in 17 largely ineffective minutes.

Those injuries may leave the Blazers short-handed as they play the remainder of a five-game homestand. Portland may be forced to recall guard Will Barton and forward Victor Claver from the D-League's Idaho Stampede, where they had been sent on Friday.

Portland was back after a seven-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. The Blazers went 2-5 on the trip, winning at Charlotte and Cleveland, both in overtime. They lost 99-92 at Indiana on Wednesday.

The Kings were playing on a back-to-back after a 91-82 win Friday over the Orlando and were kicking off a four-game road trip. The 0-6 start to the season was Sacramento's worst road start since going 0-9 on the road to begin the 2007-08 season.

Sacramento dominated despite missing Tyreke Evans, its second-leading scorer and leader in assists, for the fourth time in five games with a sore knee. Salmons was 3 for 4 on 3-pointers and helped catalyze Sacramento's run by making two of the Kings' four 3s to start the second half. Four minutes into the third quarter the Kings were up 10 and Portland never challenged as Batum and Mathews left the game for good.

The Kings led by 12 in the first quarter as Portland committed nine turnovers. The tables turned in the second quarter. Kings scored just 13 points and went through a stretch where they missed 14 of 15 field-goal attempts, allowing the Blazers to pull to 39-38. Thompson's layup broke the dry spell for Sacramento, which went into the break up 43-41.

NOTES: Portland PG Damian Lillard was named Western Conference Rookie of the month for November. Lillard tied an NBA record Saturday by becoming the second player to make a 3-pointer in each of his first 20 games. He tied former Blazer Rudy Fernandez, who did it in 2008. . The Blazers won the first meeting between the teams this season 103-86 at Sacramento. . Former Blazer Travis Outlaw had 11 points off the bench for Sacramento, all in the second half.

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

SACRAMENTO -- Sometimes a game means a little bit more than just one of 82. For Dave Joerger, beating his former team is gratifying, whether he wants to admit it or not, especially when that team is in the middle of major playoff push.

“I know he really wanted that one, you could tell before and during the game,” veteran point guard Darren Collison said of his head coach after the Kings’ 91-90 over the Memphis Grizzlies. “Anytime you go against your former team it definitely means a lot.”

Everyone noticed the change in Joerger. Be it in film prep or in walk-through, something was different. Despite the playoff chase being over, Joerger turned to his veterans and they delivered in the clutch.

“Anytime you play against your former team, whether it be a coach or a player, you have a little more energy, you have a little more incentive to win,” Anthony Tolliver said.

Ten Kings players saw court time, but both Skal Labissiere and Langston Galloway played sparingly as Joerger tightened his rotation. All five starters played 30 minutes or more, with Collison seeing a team-high 37 minutes.

The veteran point guard finished with a game-high 23 points and seven assists in the win. His free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining pushed the Kings into the lead and Memphis’ last ditch effort to win the game at the buzzer rimmed out.

“The more games we win, it’s going to be better for these young guys,” Collison said. “It’s very hard to win in this league and winning is contagious.”

This was the second straight victory for Sacramento after dropping four in a row. The team is now 5-12 since the All-Star break and they are 4-4 over their last eight games.

“We’re competing and that’s the biggest thing - we’re not laying down,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “Even though we’re not in the playoff race, we’re playing like we’re in the playoff race and that’s bigtime.”

Cauley-Stein continued his strong play since the break. The second-year big posted 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists in 33 minutes. He played solid defense on veteran Zach Randolph down the stretch.

It was a team effort. Four players scored in double-figures, including rookie Buddy Hield, who scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds. Big man Kosta Koufos added 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Ty Lawson finished with 10 points in 19 minutes of action.

Following the game, Joerger alluded to this being the final time we will see many of the veterans playing major minutes together. With just eight games remaining in the season, it’s time to give the young core the reigns and let them show what they can do.

“This was maybe our last stand for the year as far as you’re probably not going to see all those veterans play together for the rest of the season,” said Joerger. “It’s at home, it’s a great opportunity. The guys went out there and laid it all on the line.”

The Kings return to their home court on Wednesday when the Utah Jazz roll through Golden 1 Center. Of their remaining eight games on the schedule, Sacramento has four home contests and four on the road. They’ll finish the 2016-17 season on April 12 in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

TURNING POINT:
Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.