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Trail Blazers 104, Kings 91

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Guard Damian Lillard and forward LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 42 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 104-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night at the Moda Center.

Lillard scored 22 points and Aldridge 20 for the Trail Blazers (3-2), who led almost from start to finish.

Center DeMarcus Cousins collected a season-high 35 points and nine rebounds for the Kings (1-4), who have lost four in a row since an opening-night victory over Denver.

Guard Wesley Matthews added 18 points and seven rebounds for Portland, which got double-figure scoring from six players. Nicolas Batum had 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Center Robin Lopez scored 11 points and forward Thomas Robinson came off the bench for 10.

Portland led by five points at halftime despite the play of Cousins, who had 18 points and six rebounds to keep the Kings close. Matthews hit 5 of 8 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, for 12 points and Lillard bombed in 3 of 4 3-pointers for nine for the Blazers, who shot .537 in the half and .467 (7 for 15) on 3-pointers.

The Kings closed to 58-55 before the Blazers, led by Matthews, used a 10-0 spurt to go ahead 68-55. The lead rose to 72-58 before Portland settled for a 77-66 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Sacramento, behind reserve guard Isaiah Thomas, kept after it, cutting the Portland edge to 87-81 with 6:42 to play. The Kings were still within six when Aldridge knocked down three jumpers to push the Blazers ahead 98-86 with 2:02 to go.

Portland broke loose from a 20-20 tie, with Dorell Wright and Lillard sinking in back-to-back 3-pointers as the Blazers closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run for a 29-22 lead.

The Blazers hiked the margin to 37-26 before Sacramento rallied, getting to within 41-38. Matthews then heated up, scoring 10 points in a four-minute span to send Portland to intermission on top 54-49.

NOTES: Portland reserve C/F Joel Freeland, who sat out Tuesday's loss to Houston with a hip injury, returned to action, providing two points, two rebounds and a blocked shot in six first-half minutes. ... Robinson, who played for Sacramento as a rookie last season, had an impressive first half against his former team, going 4 of 4 from the field while collecting eight points and three boards in seven minutes. ... Blazers coach Terry Stotts considers Cousins, who averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in the first four games, "one of the most skilled centers in the league. Great hands, great touch around the basket. He can make perimeter jump shots, he's an excellent offensive rebounder and passer. He's a handful. He's the foundation of their franchise. They signed him to a big contract and he's only going to get better." ... After subpar performances in Sacramento's first two games, rookie G Ben McLemore scored 19 and 15 points in his last two. "All seven preseason games, Ben played very well," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "Then the first two (regular-season) games, bright lights, these games are for real -- had some rookie jitters. "But he's a very confident young player who moves effortlessly on the floor. Ben is a big part of our future. We're going to look to get him in more as the season goes on."
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