Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 2, 2012
Kings hang on to beat Trail Blazers, 95-92

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media after the game.

Marcus Thornton scored a team-high 20 points in his first game back after missing four games with a thigh injury, John Salmons added 19 points and the Kings erased an early 13-point deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, 95-92.

Tyreke Evans added 18 points and Jason Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak and beat the Trail Blazers for the first time in their third meeting this season.

The Trail Blazers had two chances to tie the game as the clock wound down after Gerald Wallace stole the ball from Thornton with under 10 seconds left. But Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford's three-point attempts both clanked off the iron, and the announced crowd of 11,740 at Power Balance Pavilion breathed a collective sigh of relief.

LaMarcus Aldridge had a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds for Portland, while Felton added 15 points and 10 assists.

The Kings (7-15) trailed at halftime, 56-47, but made a move in the third quarter after head coach Keith Smart said they tweaked their defensive game plan at the half. After shooting 60.5 percent in the first half, the Trail Blazers (13-10) made just 14 of 45 attempts from the field in the second half.

Smart credited the practice-heavy week prior to Thursday night's game with allowing the Kings to make changes on the fly, and said the win provided the Kings with some "positive reinforcement."

"We've been doing everything really well, except getting the wins," Smart said. "And these guys did a great job as far as maintaining and staying with the process -- the process of keep getting better on both sides of the ball, getting the philosophy of pushing the basketball, and then defensively I thought they were spectacular."

The Trail Blazers tied the game at 88-88 with three minutes remaining, but Salmons hit a 15-foot jump shot and Thompson followed with a put-back layup with 1:53 remaining to put the Kings ahead for good.

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