by James Ham & Jonathan Santiago

Big nights from John Salmons and Marcus Thornton catapulted the Sacramento Kings to a 95-92 win over the Portland Trailblazers Thursday night at Power Balance Pavilion.

Sacramento Kings Head Coach Keith Smart said of Salmons after the game: “He’s putting work in and he’s a proud pro…The things that he is doing, other than scoring, have been great.”

And of Thornton: “As I said before, Marcus is a know-how guy and he’s going to make plays to keep us in the game…on both sides of the ball.”

The Kings trailed by as many as 13 points, but managed to tie the game 63-63with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Fast forward to the final period.  With 19.2 seconds left, Kings guard Tyreke Evans scored on a 17-foot jumper to put Sacramento up five. But following the basket, likely all-star LaMarcus Aldridge scored on a layup, trimming the Kings’ lead to three.

In the ensuing possession, Trailblazers forward Gerald Wallace forced Thornton into a turnover. However, Portland was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and missed two three-point attempts before time expired.

The victory improves the Kings record to 7-15 overall, 5-4 at home. Next up for Sacramento?  A rematch with the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Kings 93-90 in Oakland on Tuesday.


Notes and Analysis

  • Welcome back John Salmons.  After averaging just seven points per game through 21 contests, the veteran wing scored 19 and grabbed eight rebounds in the win.
  • The Blazers three-guard set of Raymond Felton, Wesley Mathews and Jamal Crawford combined to shoot an atrocious 17-for-46 (37 percent) from the field and 3-for-16 (19 percent) from behind the arc.
  • Playing just under 15 minutes, DeMarcus Cousins was limited to just eight points and six rebounds.  He picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter, prompting coach Smart to stick with what worked.
  • Jason Thompson finished with a double-double for a second consecutive game.  The fourth-year big man out of Rider scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but struggled to defend LaMarcus Aldridge.
  • The Blazers big man was a beast, scoring 19 of his game-high 28 points in the first half.  Coach Smart used double teams and traps in the second half to slow Aldridge down and the Blazers other players weren’t able to take advantage.
  • The Blazers bench outscored the Kings 30-17.
  • After starting the last three games for Thornton, rookie Jimmer Fredette received his first DNP-CD of his career.
  • Francisco Garcia, Donté Greene  and rookie Tyler Honeycutt also received the dreaded DNP-CD as Smart went heavily with Isaiah Thomas and Travis Outlaw.
  • The Kings had 11 first-half assists, but only five the rest of the way, falling back to their isolating tendencies.
  • Stat of the GameThe Kings hit 22 of 29 free-throws tonight, while the Blazers only scored eight of their 16 attempts.  That is a huge disparity in a game that was decided by just three points.

Additonal Notes

  • A scary moment for the Kings when Trailblazers forward Gerald Wallace landed on top of Marcus Thornton in a shot-blocking attempt early in the fourth quarter.  After the game, the Kings guard said he “felt a little woozy at first”, but managed to tough out two free throws following the collision.  His thigh, which had sidelined him for the past week, tightened up a few times during the game, but “for the most part felt good.”  You can watch Thornton’s comments about his return to action here.