Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/27/12
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers were riding a season-high, five-game winning streak before they lost to the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday. When the teams met again Wednesday night at the Rose Garden, the Blazers could do no wrong and the Kings could do very little right. Portland played stellar on offense, solid on defense and walked off the court with a 109-91 win. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points to lead the Blazers (14-13), while teammate J.J. Hickson finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Hickson extended his streak of double-doubles to nine consecutive games -- the longest run by a Portland player since before Mychal Thompson recorded eight consecutive double-doubles in 1981. Nicolas Batum added 18 points for the Blazers, Damian Lillard had 17, and Will Barton scored 14 points off the bench. The short-handed Kings (9-19) were led by John Salmons' 19 points. Isaiah Thomas scored 12 points off the bench, and Jason Thompson added 11 points. Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, reinstated from his team suspension Monday, did not make the trip to Portland. He was suspended from the Kings for their 108-96 win over the Blazers on Sunday following a halftime altercation with coach Keith Smart in Sacramento's previous game. Wednesday's absence was listed as the coach's decision. Kings guard Tyreke Evans didn't play due to a sore left knee. He sat out for the 10th time in 14 games. Both offenses came out hot in the first quarter as Portland pulled out to a 31-26 lead. The Blazers connected on 13 of 23 attempts (.565) and the Kings shot 11 of 21 (.524). In the second quarter, the Blazers continued shooting effectively while stepping up their defense and containing the Kings. The Blazers put a punctuation mark on the first half when Batum connected on a last second 3-pointer from the right side of the arc that gave Portland a 62-44 lead. Portland finished the half shooting .575 (23 of 40) while holding Sacramento to .414 success from the field (17 of 41). Through two quarters, Batum and Aldridge led the Blazers with 13 points each. Hickson scored 11 in the first half, and Barton added 10. Every active player on the Sacramento roster had at least two points by halftime, but besides Salmons' 11 points, no one else on the Kings went into the break in double figures. The Blazers were relentless in the third quarter, extending their lead to 91-67. The lead was wide enough that Portland's reserves played a good portion of the fourth quarter. The Blazers will play the Los Angeles Lakers on the road on Friday before returning home to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. The Kings have a home game Friday against the New York Knicks and another Sunday against the Boston Celtics. NOTES: The Blazers and Kings played each other for the third time since Dec. 8 and the fourth time this season. The season series ended 2-2. ... Sacramento's win over Portland on Sunday was only its second victory in eight games. ... Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews sat out for the fourth time in seven games because of a strained left hip flexor. Matthews, who is averaging 15 points per game, injured the hip against the Kings on Dec. 8. ... Kings reserve guard Jimmer Fredette entered play with an NBA-best .941 free-throw-shooting percentage. He made three of four foul shots Wednesday.
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