Kings hold off Lillard, Blazers 123-119

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 8, 2014 at 1:34 am •  Published: January 8, 2014
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — One swish after another, Damian Lillard pulled Portland closer.

One or two more, and he might've pulled off one of the NBA's most improbable comebacks this season.

DeMarcus Cousins tied a season-high with 35 points to go with 13 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 32 points and the Sacramento Kings held off a furious rally by Lillard to beat the Trail Blazers 123-119 on Tuesday night.

"That's the craziest game I've ever been a part of," Cousins said. "I could not wait until the end. I don't ever want to be in a situation with the ball in Damian Lillard's hands. I'm glad we got the win, but that was a scary thing."

Cousins and Gay provided the spark for a 32-12 run at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters that put Sacramento ahead by 19 points. Gay fouled out with 4:12 remaining, and the Blazers nearly rallied back.

After scoring just 13 points in the third quarter, Portland had 46 points in the final period.

Lillard alone scored 26 of his career-high 41 points in the fourth to power Portland within two in the final minute, breaking the franchise record for points in a quarter. Terry Porter scored 25 points against Golden State on Nov. 14, 1992.

But the Kings made just enough free throws hold off Lillard and the Blazers, who have lost four of their last six games.

"That clock was moving very, very slow," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "Damian just kept on coming."

LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points and eight rebounds, and Nicolas Batum finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while playing with a fractured left middle finger in Portland's latest loss.

The Kings had dropped two straight after beating top contenders Miami and Houston. Sacramento held a players-only meeting on Sunday, and the Kings emerged to knock off another one of the NBA's best.

Gay made consecutive 3-pointers, a three-point play and a layup during Sacramento's surge in the fourth. Cousins also put back a rebound and hit a jumper to help the Kings go ahead 102-83 with 7:54 remaining.

Sacramento led 117-105 with 1:12 to play when Lillard turned into a one-man wrecking crew.

The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year made three 3-pointers, a fast-break layup and was fouled shooting another from beyond the arc — which just rimmed out. He made all three free throws to slice Sacramento's lead to 121-119 with 16.5 seconds left.

"Once I make a few, I can get going," Lillard said.

Isaiah Thomas hit two free throws before Lillard missed from long range to all but end the comeback. Lillard shot 13 of 24 from the floor and added seven rebounds and four assists.

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