Blazers, Lillard hold off Kings

Portland guard scores 28 points in preseason win

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer



PORTLAND — After a pedestrian first half of play where he went 1 for 6, Damian Lillard exploded in the second half, scoring 23 of his 28 points, to help the Portland Trail Blazers hold off the Sacramento Kings 109-105 in preseason action Sunday.

“I was just attacking,” Lillard said of his second half. “In the first half I thought I got guys shots. They loosened up on me. I started getting in the paint a little bit easier, and I started to get the shots that I wanted to get.”

The Blazers started the night hitting seven of their first eight shots with Thomas Robinson going 3-for-3 in his second start of the preseason in place of LaMarcus Aldridge, who sat with a sore left knee.

Robinson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, following his seven-point 13-rebound performance on Friday.

The Kings were able to inch closer to the Blazers in the second quarter but only slightly as Portland carried a nine-point lead into the intermission.

Lillard hit his first five shots of the second half, including scoring eight points in the span of 51 seconds mid-third quarter, extending Portland’s lead to 19.

While the Blazers were without their All-Star Aldridge, the Kings were without recent maximum-contract signee DeMarcus Cousins and struggled on the boards.

For the second straight game, the Blazers were able to hold a decent edge on the boards, 54-40. Nicolas Batum was very aggressive with nine rebounds to go along with 14 points and five assists.

Without Cousins, the Kings elected to play Patrick Patterson heavy minutes and space the court with his shooting. Patterson finished with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting.

The Blazers faced a similar, floor-spacing style against the Phoenix Suns in their second preseason game, and Stotts said it was a good test of their defense.

“Patterson shot the ball better than I expected,” Stotts said. “I know he’s a good mid-range shooter. I didn’t expect him to go 3-for-5 from three. In a way it was good that he did that so we’ll know next time we play him to adjust our coverages.”

Ben McLemore, the Kings first round draft pick, had a solid showing. He scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half and helped Sacramento come back as the Kings took their first lead on his 3-pointer with 5:54 left.

Lillard made a driving lay-up and got fouled with 4 minutes left to tie the game. After he made his free-throw, Portland never looked back.

The Blazers will finish the preseason against the Warriors in Lillard’s hometown of Oakland on Thursday.


SACRAMENTO (105) — Salmons 2-8 1-2 6, Patterson 11-18 2-2 27, Thompson 0-5 0-0 0, Vasquez 1-8 1-2 4, Thornton 4-9 1-1 10, Hayes 3-5 0-1 6, McLemore 10-16 0-0 23, Thomas 5-17 5-7 15, Outlaw 1-5 3-4 5, Fredette 3-6 1-1 9. Totals 40-97 14-20 105.

PORTLAND (109) — Batum 5-8 1-1 14, Robinson 6-8 2-2 14, Lopez 7-11 0-0 14, Lillard 8-19 8-9 28, Matthews 1-5 2-2 5, Williams 5-13 6-6 17, Wright 4-9 0-1 8, Leonard 1-3 0-0 2, Watson 0-0 0-2 0, Freeland 3-6 1-1 7. Totals 40-82 20-24 109.

Sacramento 19 25 28 33–105

Portland 30 23 24 32–109

3-Point Goals–Sacramento 11-32 (Patterson 3-5, McLemore 3-7, Fredette 2-5, Vasquez 1-2, Salmons 1-4, Thornton 1-5, Outlaw 0-1, Thomas 0-3), Portland 9-25 (Lillard 4-9, Batum 3-6, Williams 1-3, Matthews 1-3, Wright 0-4). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Sacramento 49 (Hayes 11), Portland 60 (Batum 11). Assists–Sacramento 24 (Thomas 10), Portland 22 (Williams, Batum 5). Total Fouls–Sacramento 21, Portland 20. Technicals–Sacramento delay of game, Sacramento defensive three second, Portland delay of game. A–17,357 (19,980).