THE FACTS: Despite missing starters Tyreke Evans (sore knee) and DeMarcus Cousins (team suspension), the Sacramento Kings gave their fans an early Christmas present, snapping the Portland Trail Blazers' five-game winning streak with a 108-96 win at Sleep Train Arena.
Marcus Thornton led the way for the Kings, scoring a team-high 22 points filling in for Evans at shooting guard. Travis Outlaw supplied the bench support, scoring 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting, while John Salmons added a solid 15-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist performance.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 17 points and eight assists, while former King J.J. Hickson notched his eighth straight double-double in the loss.
QUOTABLE: "The number one thing was 31 assists. That tells the story right there. Obviously making shots, but 31 assists for this group after everything we've been through over the last couple of days, for them to pull together ..."
-- Kings coach Keith Smart on his team's effort
THE STAT: The Kings were in the giving spirit, setting a season-high with 31 assists. Their previous high was 25 assists, which they had accomplished twice.
TURNING POINT: With his team leading 77-71 and time about to expire in the third quarter, Aaron Brooks buried a 27-footer to give the Kings a nine-point lead and all the momentum going into the fourth.
QUOTABLE II: "It felt great. Everyone was into the game, cheering for one another. That's what we need."
-- Thornton on the Kings' big win
HOT: For the second time in the month of December, seldom used forward Travis Outlaw got it going against his former team. In the second quarter, Outlaw scorched the Blazers for 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting, helping the Kings take a 49-42 lead to the half.
NOT: The Blazers bench gave coach Terry Stotts very little in the loss. Meyers Leonard led the way with eight points, but the Kings bench outscored Portland's bench 43-26.
GOOD MOVE: Smart went to Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas in the second and fourth quarters and the pairing paid off. Jimmer finished with seven points and four assists, while Thomas added 11 points and five assists.
NOTABLE: Tonight's game was the first of Cousins' team mandated "indefinite suspension". There is no word as to how long the Kings' starting center will be out.
UP NEXT: For the Blazers, Wednesday vs. Sacramento, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Saturday vs. Philadelphia. For the Kings, Wednesday @ Portland, Friday vs. New York, Sunday vs. Boston.