Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Damian Lillard had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the loss of star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and held off the Sacramento Kings, 98-94, on Monday.
Wesley Matthews added 17 points and five reserves scored at least five points to make up for the loss of Aldridge, who left the game late in the second quarter with a hand injury and was immediately ruled out.
"When things like this happen, guys have to be ready to step up," said Lillard. "It's not like, LA is out, we're not playing Wednesday. We still have to go out there and try and win the game."
DeMarcus Cousins returned from a one-game absence for Sacramento and filled it up, but it wasn't enough to end a losing streak that reached four games.
Cousins posted 22 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks but picked up three fouls late in the game and fouled out for the third time this month. Rudy Gay scored a game-high 26 points.
Portland locked down defensively early in the fourth quarter to erase Sacramento's lead, which was nine points following Ray McCallum's layup early in the period. A 12-2 run ensued, with Nicolas Batum hitting a 3-pointer at 5:03 to cap the surge and give the Blazers an 84-83 edge.
Cousins briefly restored momentum to the Kings with his jumper from the nail, and Darren Collison made it three with a layup on the next touch, but Portland outscored Sacramento by seven the rest of the way.
Thomas Robinson made 3-of-4 from the stripe out of a timeout, and Matthews restored the lead with a long jumper. Cousins tied the game with two free throws, but fouled out not long after trying to fight through a screen.
The Blazers went in front for good on Lillard's reverse layup off an offensive rebound. The lead was one when, with Cousins on the bench and no rim protector on the floor for Sacramento, Lillard darted down the lane for an uncontested flush.
After Gay worked his way to the line for a pair, Lillard left the door open by splitting on consecutive trips to the stripe, but Collison stepped on the sideline and turned the ball over. Batum put the game away at the line.
"I think we're playing much better right now," said Collison. "We're showing effort and playing as more of a team right now. I think we're fine."
Aldridge, Lillard and Matthews all had 10 points at halftime, however Sacramento led 56-51 at intermission.
Collison had 13 points, eight assists and seven boards ... Sacramento dominated on the glass, outrebounding Portland 53-35.