Kings Blog and Q&A

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

April 15, 2012
In-game blog: Kings vs. Trail Blazers

Head coach Keith Smart addresses the media following the Kings' win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Power Balance Pavilion.

FINAL
Kings 104, Trail Blazers 103

Marcus Thornton again showed why Kings head coach Keith Smart has faith in him as a late-game scorer.

With the Kings trailing the Portland Trail Blazers by one point, Thornton hit a 17-foot jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Kings their first win in eight games.

Wesley Matthews had made his eighth three-pointer of the game for Portland just seconds before to give the Trail Blazers the lead. Portland's desperation heave from mid-court fell short as time expired.

"It was a play designed by coach, a great play," Thornton said. "Isaiah (Thomas) taking it up, DeMarcus (Cousins) came down, set a great screen and I turned and got the ball, saw a little daylight and just tried to make the shot."

It was the Kings' first game at Power Balance Pavilion since Friday's news that the proposed deal for a new downtown arena had fallen through. Despite frustration among fans, an announced crowd of 16,012 turned out for the Sunday afternoon game and erupted when Thornton's final shot fell.

Needing big plays down the stretch, the Kings got them from several different players.

With the game tied at 100-100 and the Trail Blazers in-bounding with 39.4 seconds left, Terrence Williams stole the ball from Portland point guard Raymond Felton.

After a timeout, Cousins drove for a left-handed lay-up with the shot clock running down. That gave the Kings a 102-100 lead with 10.7 seconds remaining.

Matthews, though, followed with a step-back three-pointer from the corner. He finished 8-for-10 from beyond the arc and had 31 points to lead the Trail Blazers.

That set the stage for Thornton.

"No matter who the opponent was, we needed this win, and the young men found a way to do it," Smart said. "Based on everything that happened with our franchise this week and the way it has been with our team in the past two weeks, we found a way."

Thornton finished with 20 points. Cousins had 23 points and seven rebounds, Thomas had 18 points and eight assists and Tyreke Evans added 20 points.

Felton had 19 for the Trail Blazers and J.J. Hickson, making his return to Power Balance Pavilion after being released earlier this season by the Kings, had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Kings shot 47.4 percent. The Trail Blazers shot 52.6 percent and made 16-of-32 three-point attempts.

But the Kings played one of their tidiest games of the season, recording 26 assists and turning the ball over just six times, leading to two Portland points. They scored 19 points off of 17 Portland turnovers.

"It feels good," Cousins said. "Even with all of the drama going on, our fans came out and supported us, stayed engaged in the game and showed their loyalty toward us. So we're thankful to have them and we love them for it."

THIRD QUARTER
Trail Blazers 81, Kings 79

The Kings came on strong in the third quarter, tying the game at 79-79 on a three-pointer by Marcus Thornton before Wesley Matthews' free throws gave Portland the lead heading into the fourth.

Matthews has 25 points to lead Portland and is 6-of-8 on three-pointers. The Trail Blazers are 13-of-24 from beyond the arc as a team and are shooting 55 percent overall.

The Kings trail despite having played a relatively mistake-free game, with 19 assists to just five turnovers.

DeMarcus Cousins has 16 points and six rebounds, while guard Isaiah Thomas has 16 points and six assists.

FIRST QUARTER
Blazers 28, Kings 22

The Kings looked like a team that didn't expect to play an afternoon game.

The Kings came out slow and were quickly down 19-11 when Keith Smart called his second timeout with 4:43 left in the quarter.

That seemed to get the Kings back into the game as Isaiah Thomas scored the next five points for the Kings. But the Kings are still shooting just 37.5 percent while the Blazers are shooting 54.5 percent.

Thomas leads the Kings with seven points. J.J. Hickson and Raymond Felton each have six points for Portland.



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