<
>

Blazers emerge in OT to win 8th straight over Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Even in a game in which he admittedly struggled, LaMarcus Aldridge was a difference-maker for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Aldridge scored 23 points with a strong finish and Nicolas Batum had a season-high 24 to lead the Blazers to a 94-90 overtime victory against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Aldridge was coming off a career-high 37 points in a Tuesday victory against Minnesota. But the skillful forward did little in the first three quarters, when he was limited to eight points.

Yet Aldridge delivered when the Blazers needed it most. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and five more in the overtime period when Portland outscored the struggling Kings 9-5 to secure a rare road victory.

"I had to stick with it. I was not in a good rhythm -- I was kind of tired," said Aldridge, who made 10 of 24 shots and added nine rebounds. "I went out and tried to make plays in the fourth."

It was the third straight win for the Blazers and eighth in a row against the Kings. And Portland did it without key injured players Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby.

Last week the Blazers found out Roy, a three-time All-Star, would be out indefinitely. He had surgery Monday on both of his knees.

This week the bad news was about Camby. The Blazers' starting center injured his left knee Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Camby, who is fourth in the NBA in rebounding (11.3 per game) and 10th in blocked shots (1.87) will have surgery Thursday, and there is no timetable for his return.

"Collectively, we've got to do those things that our guys missing were doing for us," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Tonight it was mentally challenging in an overtime game on the road. In overtime we made plays, something we talked about doing all season long. You need to make plays down the stretch."

Andre Miller had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Rudy Fernandez scored 13 off the bench for Portland.

Beno Udrih scored 20 for the Kings, who have lost three straight and and just returned home from a frustrating 1-5 road trip on which they dropped several close games.

Tyreke Evans had 16 points and eight assists, and Samuel Dalembert had a season-high 15 points and 12 rebounds. Omri Casspi added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The ending was all too familiar to the Kings, who have played poorly in the fourth quarter for much of the season.

Against the Blazers, Sacramento scored only nine points in the game's final 11 minutes.

"That's a very good team that we took to the brink again and came up short," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "There's nothing easy about it. I think counting the road trip and this game, we've had a lead in the fourth quarter six out of seven times and won one of those games."

The lead went back and forth in the first three minutes of overtime. Miller's jumper gave the Blazers the lead for good at 92-90 with 1:49 remaining.

Looking to tie the game, Evans misfired on a driving attempt, and several follow shots didn't fall. Batum eventually secured the rebound and, after being fouled, made a pair to put Portland ahead 94-90 with 7.6 seconds left.

"In overtime, we didn't panic. We stayed calm and executed our game plan," Batum said. "We did a good job at the end. They have some good players like Tyreke, [DaMarcus] Cousins and Beno.

"I don't know how they only have nine wins."

Carl Landry made two free throws for the Kings to tie the game at 85 with 26.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

Aldridge missed a midrange jumper with 2 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.

The Kings did a nice job in first three quarters defensively against Aldridge, who missed nine of 12 shots and had eight points. Jason Thompson and Dalembert were the primary defenders against Aldrige.

"[Aldridge is] a guy that's been carrying them in a big way, and we did a good job of making him earn his points tonight and shoot a lower percentage of shots," Westphal said. "Give the other guys credit. Andre Miller, Batum and Fernandez made big shots for them when Aldridge wasn't able to do it."

In a sluggish third quarter characterized by missed perimeter shots and frequent turnovers by both teams, the Kings tied the game at 65 when Landry dunked with 2 seconds left.

Game notes
San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo was in a courtside seat. ... Kings starting forward Francisco Garcia missed his second straight game with a strained left calf. ... The two teams play again Monday in Portland. ... Evans had 11 points in the first half to help the Kings to a 48-46 lead.