ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com NBA & Trail Blazers Insider
Sacramento,Calif. Enough was enough for the Portland Trail Blazers. Theylost four consecutive games and players were starting to getfrustrated with their shortcomings.
Tonight,they took their frustrations out on the Sacramento Kings in aconvincing fashion in route to a 103-86 victory in Sleep Train Arena.
Thetone was probably set before the game when Wesley Matthews walkedover to the scores table and said, We're not expletivelosing tonight. And with his 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, he madesure of that.
We'rea better team than we've shown, we're better than what our recordsays, Matthews said. We went and took care of business tonight.We still have some areas where we need to improve...We just got tokeep teams down. We play too hard to let teams back in.
Thethird quarter is where the Trail Blazers (3-5) did their damage going on a17-2 run that extended to a 21-2 run into the fourth quarter. In thatspan, Damian Lillard had 8 of his game-high 22 points, Nicolas Batumadded 9 of his 15 points, and J.J. Hickson chipped in 4 of his 10points.
Hicksonalso had 13 rebounds making him one of only seven NBA players with atleast five double-doubles so far this season.
Lillardhad family in for the game from Oakland, Calif., and he gave them ashow they would never forget.
Hebounced back from a rough game last game, Stotts said. Obviouslyhe shot the ball well, but I thought he took what was there. When youmake shots, it's always impressive, but I thought he had a good floorgame too.
Hisnine assist is what Stotts was referring to.
TheTrail Blazers were almost without their All-Star power forward,LaMarcus Aldridge. He injured his right wrist when he fell to theground and caught himself with his hands against the Atlanta Hawks.He tried to get some shots up during warmups tonight, but says hecouldn't shoot.
Ikind of tweaked my risk pretty bad, Aldridge said. I felt it inthe game, but even more today. It was just really really sore thismorning.
AnX-ray was taken and results came back negative and he went out thereand gave it what he had. After tonight's game, he was asked if hiswrist started getting any better throughout the game.
Nah,it didn't, Aldridge said. But I was so cautious with it that itdidn't get any worse. I think all my free throws tonight, I didn'thave a follow through because it still hurts. I was kind ofshot-putting it tonight, but hopefully I can ice it tomorrow and Ishould be better by Thursday.
Aldridgeshot-putted his way to 19 points and five rebounds. He made sure henever gave a high-five to his teammates with his right hand and hekept his game perimeter oriented. He says he's not expected to missany time with the injury.
TheKings (2-6) were without their best player DeMarcus Cousins (suspension)and starting point guard Isaiah Thomas (death in family).
TheTrail Blazers are now headed for a two-game home-stand starting withthe Houston Rockets on Friday and according to Matthews, winningthis game was a must before they went back home.
Everygame is a must-win, but we had to have this one, Matthews said.We didn't want to go up against Houston on a losing streak.Tonight was the night.