mason plumlee

Portland bests hot Cousins

Blazers defense snubs the Kings in 112-95 win
Jan. 26, 2016 / Associated Press

PORTLAND - DeMarcus Cousins didn’t have it Tuesday night.

The Sacramento Kings forward, unstoppable in the Kings’ past two games, found his match in the Portland Trail Blazers’ defense.

Cousins, coming off games of 56 and 48 points, missed 17 of his 21 shots and scored just 17 points against Portland interior defense in the Blazers’ 112-95 win at the Moda Center.

C.J. McCollum scored 18 points, Damian Lillard had 15 points and 13 assists as Portland had seven players score in double figures.

With the win, Portland (21-26) moved into a virtual tie with Sacramento (20-25) for eighth in the Western Conference. The Blazers have won six of their past eight.

Cousins was coming off a franchise-high 56-point performance Monday night against Charlotte, but never got untracked against a Portland defense led by Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee.

Cousins missed nine of his first 10 shots and went 1-of-7 during the second half before leaving midway through the fourth quarter with Portland having the game in hand. Cousins also struggled at the free throw line, making 9 of 17.

“He’s a very good player, able to score in many ways, but I thought for the most part we did a good job on him,” Leonard said. “We were really locked in on what we needed to do tonight and it was just a great team effort.”

Though Cousins played 46 minutes before fouling out against Charlotte, Sacramento coach George Karl was hesitant to use fatigue as a reason for Cousins’ sub-par outing.

“As a coach I don’t like that excuse. As a human being, it’s probably a justifiable excuse,” Karl said. “He’s been so good I’m not going to complain. He’s been our horse and we’ve ridden him to a lot of good things.”

Portland’s offensive balance also played a big role in the Blazers’ win. Seven players scored between 11 and 18 points. Portland reserves Gerald Henderson, Allen Crabbe and Ed Davis were among those in double figures.

“Their bench hurt us more and that’s a sign of a good team. When you overshoot your emphasis on their No. 1 and 2 strengths, it usually opens up other opportunities. They had some guys jump in and take advantage of that,” Karl said.

Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 11 assists for the Kings, who lost in double overtime on Monday night.

Portland led 58-52 at halftime after leading for most of the first half.

The Trail Blazers maintained a narrow margin for much of the third quarter, but momentum eventually moved in their favor after Cousins missed two free throws, then committed an offensive foul. Portland immediately scored seven consecutive points for its largest lead of the game at 81-67.

Portland led 88-74 after three and continued to pour it on early in the fourth quarter. Crabbe and Henderson hit 3-pointers as the Blazers increased their lead to 100-79 with eight minutes remaining.

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