SACRAMENTO -- Santa Cuz and his elves delivered Christmas joy a few days early Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center. Everyone who stepped on the floor gave coach Joerger something as the Sacramento Kings knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers by a final of 126-121.
Cousins was unstoppable. The two-time All-Star plowed through the Blazers frontline, hitting 17-for-28 from the field and 16-of-17 from the free throw line for 55 points and 13 rebounds.
With the Kings struggling to find a second scoring option, the entire second unit stood up.
Ty Lawson looked like the fire plug that led the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs a few years back. The veteran point guard attacked the star-studded backcourt of the Blazers, scoring 16 points and eight assists running the second unit.
Anthony Tolliver got it going from the outside, knocking down 3-for-4 from long range on his way to 11 points. Arron Afflalo kicked in 11 and Garrett Temple played stifling defense as the Kings improved to 11-17 on the season.
The Blazers tout one of the best backcourts in the game and they didn’t disappoint. C.J. McCollum got hot early and the Kings had no way to cool him down. He broke Sacramento’s defense down and finished with an array of trick shots on his way to 36 points on 13-for-22 shooting.
With McCollum putting on a show, Damian Lillard played distributor. The All-Star guard finished the night with 24 points and 15 assists in the loss.
Mason Plumlee was the beneficiary of plenty of those passes from Lillard. He finished high above the rim for one alley-oop after another, dropping in 27 points and added 13 rebounds.
Cousins was a star. McCollum put up big numbers too, but once the big fella gets rolling, there is very little you can do to stop him.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Kings bench came to play. Tolliver, Temple, Afflalo, Lawson and Cauley-Stein combined to drop in 49 points, outscoring Portland’s bench by 26.
With less than 30 seconds remaining, Cousins was tossed from the game after picking up his second technical foul. Upon review, the officials summonsed the star big back to the court where he came up with the defensive play of the night to help preserve the win.
Rudy Gay missed his fourth straight game with a right hip flexor strain, but hopes to return Wednesday night when the Kings travel to Utah to face the Jazz. Omri Casspi sat for the third straight contest with an illness. He underwent blood tests on Monday and has a virus.
The Kings jump right back into the fray Wednesday night when they face the Utah Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back at Vivint Smart Home Arena.