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Cousins, Salmons lead Blazers past Kings

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Associated Press
12/9/2012 12:56:20 AM
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Sacramento Kings jumped over two hurdles in their win at Portland on Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds, John Salmons added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Kings earned their first road win and first three-game winning streak of the season by beating the Trail Blazers 99-80.

"It feels good," Salmons said. "Especially coming off two home wins, to go on the road and get that third win. Hopefully, we can continue doing that."

Aaron Brooks had 14 points for the Kings, who had lost their first six away from Sleep Train Arena. Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson added 12 each. All five starters finished in double figures as the Kings overcame a dismal second quarter and steadily pulled away, outscoring Portland by 19 points in the second half.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 rebounds and J. J. Hickson added 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews scored 14 points, but suffered a hip injury.

Matthews went to the locker room in the third quarter with what was called a left hip contusion. He returned but fell to the floor in the fourth and left the game limping. He said after the game he heard his hip flexor muscle pop when he went down and was in significant pain.

Nicolas Batum played for Portland despite dealing with a back strain, but he appeared to be in pain while scoring five points in 17 largely ineffective minutes.

Those injuries may leave the Blazers short-handed as they play the remainder of a five-game homestand. Portland may be forced to recall guard Will Barton and forward Victor Claver from the D-League's Idaho Stampede, where they had been sent on Friday.

Portland was back after a seven-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. The Blazers went 2-5 on the trip, winning at Charlotte and Cleveland, both in overtime. They lost 99-92 at Indiana on Wednesday.

"This was definitely a tough night for us," said Aldridge, who was 5 of 14 from the floor. "We started off kind of sluggish, especially myself. I just felt like it was one of those nights where I couldn't find my legs."

The Kings were playing on a back-to-back after a 91-82 win Friday over Orlando and were kicking off a four-game road trip. The 0-6 start to the season was Sacramento's worst road start since going 0-9 on the road to begin the 2007-08 season.

Sacramento dominated despite missing Tyreke Evans, its second-leading scorer and leader in assists, for the fourth time in five games with a sore knee. Salmons was 3 for 4 on 3-pointers and helped lead Sacramento's run by making two of the Kings' four 3s to start the second half. Four minutes into the third quarter the Kings were up 10 and Portland never challenged as Batum and Mathews left the game for good.

"They came in and they were ready to play," said Portland guard Damian Lillard, who had 12 points. "We didn't have a lot of energy and they just outplayed us and beat us."

The Kings led by 12 in the first quarter as Portland committed nine turnovers. The tables turned in the second quarter. Kings scored just 13 points and went through a stretch where they missed 14 of 15 field-goal attempts, allowing the Blazers to pull to 39-38. Thompson's layup broke the dry spell for Sacramento, which led 43-41 at the break.

Former Blazer Travis Outlaw had 11 points for the Kings, all in the second half. Outlaw was averaging just 3.8 points entering the game, but was a key contributor as coach Keith Smart looked down his bench seeking a spark at halftime.

"I was just excited for the opportunity," Outlaw said. "To get to go out there, showcase, do what I can and hopefully I can buy myself more minutes."

NOTES: Lillard was named Western Conference Rookie of the month for November. Lillard tied an NBA record Saturday by becoming the second player to make a 3-pointer in each of his first 20 games. He tied former Blazer Rudy Fernandez, who did it in 2008. ... The Blazers won the first meeting between the teams this season 103-86 at Sacramento. ... Matthews' consecutive games streak appears to be in jeopardy. He has played in 250 straight games, the second longest streak in the NBA to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (332).

DeMarcus Cousins (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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