The Portland Trail Blazers may have had an easy test going against the Sacramento Kings, but to win two games in a row, one at home and one on the road, against the same team in two days is an impressive feat by any means.
Once again establishing a dominating presence in the first half of the game, the Blazers held back the Kings and easily came by a 96-85 win on the road.
Though Sacramento did manage to put up 31 points in the fourth quarter, don’t let that number fool you: they didn’t have any shot of winning that game. In fact, it was once again the DeMarcus Cousins show for the Kings, and the effort of one player will never be enough to down a good program like the Blazers.
Here’s what there was to love and hate from this game.
No Let Down
In these games its sometimes easy for a team to feel overconfident, especially when you just handily beat the same team just the night before. And while Sacramento may be a terrible team with once standout player, their fans can still present a tough atmosphere for opposing squads. Portland was clearly ready for their brief road test, however, as they jumped out to a good start and established dominance over the “Kings”.
If nothing else it was great to see the Blazers take a winning mentality on the road and forward some momentum they’ve been building.
Wesley Matthews is Streaking
To say Wesley Matthews has been on a hot streak lately would be an understatement. Scoring 19 points in Portland’s loss to Houston, Matthews scored 18 against the Kings on Friday night and improved his statistics further by shooting 8-of-11 from the field for 21 points last night in Sacramento.
Since his 9 point game effort in the opener he has eclipsed the 15-point mark in all the other contests while scoring 20 points or more in three of the games.
Aside from putting points on the board Matthews also shot 3-of-5 from distance and collected five rebounds, one block, one assist, and one steal.
Damian Lillard Absent?
For the first time in forever Damian Lillard was quiet on Saturday night. still playing 37 minutes on the court, Lillard clearly didn’t have it in his second consecutive game against the Kings, shooting just 1-of-15 while scoring four points. Not exactly the statistics you expect from the prior rookie of the year, but when your team backs you up I guess all is well.
In all likelihood this game will be an aberration for Lillard and he may have just been a little antsy/tired due to his high level of play in recent contests and the quick turnaround to Sacramento. Don’t expect him to miss that many shots at any other point this year.
Other than Lillard’s less-than-phenomenal night the Blazers looked great on the court despite scoring under 100 for just the second time this year.
Looking ahead the Blazers have today off but will be right back at it when they host Detroit at the Moda Center before looking for revenge against Phoenix on Wednesday. Two great games that could see Portland make a huge statement in the NBA.