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March 2, 2011
In-game blog (Kings vs. Blazers): Portland pulls away in final three minutes to beat Kings 107-102

By Jason Jones

FINAL
Blazers 107, Kings 102

*Once again, turnovers came back to hurt the Kings. Four turnovers in the final five minutes turned a game tied at 91 into a seven-point deficit (102-95) with 51.3 seconds to play. In all, the Kings committed 16 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Blazers. Late-game execution continues to be a problem. That's to be expected somewhat right now with one of the late-game contributors, Marcus Thornton, only in his fourth game with the Kings.

*DeMarcus Cousins had been the target of much of the turnover talk, but he had only one tonight. Samuel Dalembert had a team-high four turnovers.

*Cousins (career-high tying 28 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) might have played his way back into the starting lineup after being bench for the last two games. Thornton (26 points, two steals) could join him.

Both started the second half of tonight's game.

"We'll take a look at that," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "We'll think about that. It's possible."

If that happens, Jason Thompson and Jermaine Taylor would find themselves in reserve roles.

*Thompson didn't play badly with 10 points and seven rebounds. Thompson teamed with Samuel Dalembert to do a good job defending LaMarcus Aldridge (20 points on 9-for-27 shooting). But it seems the Dalembert/Cousins pairing gives the Kings their best chance to win by keeping a primary scorer on the floor with Dalembert.

With the score tied 95-95 with 3:13 to play, the Trail Blazers scored nine consecutive points before the Kings' Marcus Thornton broke the streak with a three-pointer with 21.2 seconds left to cut Portland's lead to 104-98. The Kings got no closer than the final score in the waning seconds.

- Bee staff

THIRD QUARTER
Blazers 79, Kings 73

*The Kings went with the five Kings playing the best to start the third quarter. That meant Marcus Thornton replaced Jermaine Taylor at guard DeMarcus Cousins took Jason Thompson's place. Whether that leads to a new starting lineup Saturday in Utah remains to be seen. Paul Westphal has changed starting lineups a couple of times this season by trying out a new lineup to start the second half of a game.

*Cousins leads all scorers with 21 points. He also has eight rebounds. Thornton has 20 points and two steals.

*The Blazers are holding on to the lead thanks to balance. Five players have scored in double figures, led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 18. But Aldridge has made just eight of 21 field goals.

*If the Kings can limit their turnovers they'll have a good chance of winning. Portland has 19 points off 12 Kings turnovers.


HALFTIME
Blazers 61, Kings 53

*The two best Kings have been reserves. Marcus Thornton continues to play well with a team-high 14 points. DeMarcus Cousins has 13 points and five rebounds in what might be his best half of basketball since the All-Star Break. Cousins and Thornton have all 27 of the Kings' bench points.

*The Kings are shooting 53.8 percent. So what's the reason for the deficit? The Blazers have 14 points of seven Kings turnovers. Portland has committed only two turnovers, both in the first quarter.

*After a slow start, LaMarcus Aldridge is starting to play better. He has 16 points and eight rebounds. Andre Miller is the only other Blazer in double figures with 13 points.

*Off the court, a fan with a "Welcome to Anaheim" sign was escorted out. He was wearing a Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, right?) jersey.

FIRST QUARTER
Blazers 30, Kings 29

*Portland is coming off a lopsided loss to Houston but isn't looking out of sorts early. The Kings jumped on the Blazers early, but rallied to take the lead thanks to a lay up from Wesley Matthews at the buzzer. The Kings led by seven early.

*Portland point guard Andre Miller leads all scorers with 12 points. Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge was named Western Conference Player of the Month today, but he's off to slow start against the defense of Samuel Dalembert. Aldridge has missed three of four shots. DeMarcus Cousins leads the Kings with six points. Marcus Thornton and Beno Udrih each have five points for the Kings.

*Neither team missed a free throw in the first quarter. The Kings made all five of their attempts. The Blazers made 10 free throws.

*The Kings have struggled with turnovers lately but have only two thus far.



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