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Portland loses amid late dramatics at Sacramento

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers fell 104-103 to the Sacramento Kings, Sunday, at Power Balance Pavilion, despite a career-high eight three-pointers from guard Wesley Matthews as part of his game-high 31 points.

    "I took what the defense gave me and put the ball in the basket," Matthews said of the performance.

    Matthews final long-range strike came with 5.8 seconds remaining in the contest and gave the Trail Blazers a 103-102 lead.

    After a Kings timeout, Marcus Thornton flashed to the right elbow, took the inbound pass and buried the 15-foot jumper to reclaim the lead for Sacramento, 104-103, with 3.4 seconds remaining.

    Raymond Felton missed a desperation heave from near mid-court as the buzzer sounded, sealing the final margin.

    "They were able to run a good play and executed," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "We couldn’t get our set defense going and I thought that was huge for them tonight."

    Portland (28-33) led from its opening bucket through the fourth quarter and by as many as 11 points but could never pull away, as Sacramento (20-41) had battled back to tie the game on five different occasions headed into the final stanza.

    The Trail Blazers led 81-79 to start of the fourth quarter and extended the lead to eight points, 93-85, on Jonny Flynn's long-range two with 7:36 to play.

    From there, the Kings rattled off 10 unanswered points to take a 95-93 lead with 3:25 remaining, setting up the back-and-forth battle that ended with Thornton's game-winner.

    Matthews' 31 points came on 10-of-16 shooting, including 8-of-10 from beyond the arc, followed by Felton's 19 points and Nicolas Batum's 14 points. JJ Hickson tallied his fourth consecutive double-double for the Trail Blazers with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

    "With us, we started off with a clean slate. We were excited to get him and he is playing well for us," Canales said of Hickson. "He ended up with another double-double and his activity at both ends of the floor has been good for us."

    Second-year pro DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 23 points and seven rebounds, followed by Thornton and Tyreke Evans with 20 points each.

    Portland completes the back-to-back in Phoenix, Monday, 7 p.m., against the Suns. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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