Kings stop Blazers' winning streak

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Kings stop Blazers' winning streak

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- It appears the Sacramento Kings can play well without their controversial leading scorer and rebounder, DeMarcus Cousins.

With Cousins not in the arena due for disciplinary reasons, the Kings were an effective, unselfish team.

Now the question is whether they can keep it up.

Marcus Thornton scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to help the slumping Kings snap Portland's five-game winning streak with a 108-96 victory over the Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

Cousins, who is the starting center, was suspended indefinitely Saturday for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team. The third-year player and Kings head coach Keith Smart had a confrontation during halftime of Friday's 97-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Smart told Cousins to stay in the locker room and not join the team for the second half.

Sacramento had six players in double figures and recorded a season-high 31 assists against Portland. The Kings pulled away in the second half, shooting nearly 71 percent after the break. Using its eighth different starting lineup this season, Sacramento had a season-best 45 field goals.

"We were missing DeMarcus, so we had a different lineup out there and it worked out tonight," said James Johnson, who made a rare start at power forward while Jason Thompson moved to center. "We were a small team tonight so we ran fast and played very unselfish."

Both Thornton and Salmons helped spark the second-half surge after both were relative non-factors in the opening half. The pair combined for 31 second-half points, helping the Kings pull away.

Thornton made 8 of 11 shots in the second half and finished with four rebounds and four assists. Salmons had 13 of his 15 points in the second half and also added seven rebounds and seven assists.

"John is a very unselfish player and can get his own shots," Thornton said. "He got going in the second half. Me and the first half didn't do so well. But I came on at the right time and got hot in the second half."

Already ahead by nine points, the Kings opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Thornton, to build their lead to 87-71. The Blazers trailed by at least 12 the rest of the way.

"I just think it was one of those games where the other team played better than us," Portland rookie guard Damian Lillard said. "There probably were some defensive mistakes we made that we shouldn't have and they took advantage of it."

Former Blazer Travis Outlaw had a season-high 15 points and Isaiah Thomas added 11 for the Kings, who had lost six of their previous seven games. Both Thompson and Johnson chipped in 10 points.

"It's definitely fun playing against some former teammates," Outlaw said. "I wish I could go out and do it against other teams that well. Everybody got great looks at the rim tonight. We played very unselfish."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who have lost two of three meetings with the Kings this season. Lillard had 15 points and seven assists, Nicolas Batum scored 17, and JJ Hickson had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Kings haven't said when Cousins will be allowed to rejoin the team again. He was told not to attend the game. Cousins is averaging team bests of 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds.

"There are a few things we need to sit down and talk about," Smart said. "We have a couple of days before our next game and our executive staff will discuss things and go from there."

Sacramento also played without starting guard Tyreke Evans, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee. Evans, the Kings second-leading scorer, has missed 8 of the past 12 games.

"I thought they played very well without their key players," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "In this league when players are missing for whatever reasons the other players take that as an opportunity to play well."

The scoring of Thornton kept the Kings on top in the third quarter. The streak-shooting Thornton had 11 points and Brooks hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, helping Sacramento carry an 80-71 lead into the fourth.

Outlaw keyed a second-quarter effort by Sacramento's reserves. He had 13 points and Thomas had eight points and five assists, helping the Kings outscore Portland 28-15 and take a 49-42 lead into halftime.

Trailing by 10 early in the second quarter, the Kings responded with a 15-0 run to take a 36-31 lead.

Notes: Portland made just 7 of 24 from 3-point range. ... Blazers starting guard Wesley Matthews has a left hip injury and didn't travel with the team. Seldom-used Victor Claver started in the Blazers backcourt. ... Outlaw's 13 points in the second quarter was two more than his season high entering the game. He scored 11 points against the Blazers in a Kings victory in Portland on Dec. 8. ... The two teams don't play again until Dec. 26 in Portland.

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

The Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, the team announced on Monday.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

A 6-5 guard and 2015-16 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award bestowed on the nation’s best collegiate basketball player, Hield joins the Kings in his rookie campaign after New Orleans tabbed him with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma. In 57 contests with the Pelicans this season, he accrued averages of 8.6 points (.392 FG%, .369 3pt%, .879 FT%), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in 57 contests (stated 37). 

Evans returns to Sacramento where he earned 2009 Rookie of the Year honors after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. An eight-year league veteran, he has amassed 16.3 points (.444 FG%, .289 3pt%, .757 FT%), 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 32.5 minutes per game in 459 NBA games (started 370). The Memphis Tiger enjoyed his most prolific seasons in a Kings jersey, registering 17.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 35 minutes per contest in 257 games (started 247).

In his third NBA campaign, Galloway averaged 8.6 points (.374 FG%, .377 3pt%, .769 FT%), 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest in 55 games for New Orleans this season. The St. Joseph’s alum previously spent parts of two seasons with the New York Knicks, where he saw action in all 82 games in 2015-16. 

Cousins departs the Kings ranked prominently in Sacramento-era annals as the leader in career rebounds (5,060), double-doubles (278) and free throws attempted (3,546) second in points scored (9,894), free throws made (2,604), and blocks (577), third in steals (661), field goals made (3,557) and attempted (7,747) and fifth in games played (470). Recently named to his third consecutive Western Conference All-Star team, he currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring, 11th in rebounds and 10th in double-doubles while averaging  27.8 points (.451 FG%, .354 3pt%, .770 FT%), 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 34.4 minutes per contest in 55 games (all starts). 

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

Originally drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins posted 21.1 points (.459 FG%, .322 3pt%, .734 FT%), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.9 minutes per contest in 470 games with Sacramento (started 448).    

Casspi was selected 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft and played two seasons in Sacramento (2009-10 – 2010-11) with stops in Cleveland (2011-12 – 2012-13) and Houston (2013-14) before returning to the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. Limited by injury this year, the 6-9 forward averaged 5.9 points (.453 FG%, .379 3pt%, .571 FT%), 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game in 22 contests (started 2).         

Additionally, Divac announced that the team has waived forward Matt Barnes. A 14-year NBA veteran, the UCLA alum is averaging 7.6 points (.384 FG%, .327 3pt%, .758 FT%), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per contest in 54 games (started 13) for Sacramento after joining the team prior to the start of this season.

Sacramento Kings media services

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

On Sunday night, the Kings agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans.

As part of the deal, New Orleans is sending Buddy Hield to Sacramento.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive believes Hield has Steph Curry potential, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes.

Ranadive's feelings about Hield were reportedly a key driver in Sacramento's decision to hammer out a trade with New Orleans.

The Kings entered the 2016 draft with the eighth overall pick. They tried to trade up to take Hield, but the Pelicans selected the shooting guard sixth overall.

Hield is averaging 8.6 points and 1.4 assists per game this season, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point territory.

Steph Curry is the reigning two-time MVP and last year he became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.