Miller, Kings Shoot Their Way Past Blazers
Sacramento 106, Portland 90
PORTLAND, Ore., March 29 (Ticker) -- A visit to the Pacific Northwest was just what the Sacramento Kings needed.
Brad Miller scored 24 points and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 21 as the Kings started strong and rolled to a 106-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"We still control our own destiny and teams still have to catch us," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "In the past seven games, we haven't been paying attention to detail. Guys were trying to do it themselves. We wanted to come out with a different energy and we showed it tonight. Hopefully we can build off this, but we'll find out at Golden State (on Friday)."
The Trail Blazers (20-51) have offered a cure for many a team's ills this season and Wednesday was no different. Miller made all three of his 3-pointers and had 17 points in a dominant first half as the Kings claimed a 58-41 lead.
"Any time we get off to a start like that, chances are you're going to have a pretty good game," Miller said. "The last few games, guys have been going in and trying to do too much, myself included. It's nice to get back on track a little and hopefully that type of play can carry over."
Seven different Sacramento players had at least two assists in the opening half, when the club recorded a remarkable 21 against only one turnover. The single giveaway tied a franchise low for a half.
"We took care of the ball and we shared the ball," said Abdur-Rahim, who shot 8-of-11 from the floor. "We are a much better team when we spread the floor and make space. That's when we play at our best."
Miller's 3-pointer midway through the first quarter gave the Kings the lead for good, 12-10. The advantage steadily built and Ron Artest, who had 11 points and six assists, set a similar tone 19 seconds into the second half by burying a 3-pointer.
The closest Portland got in the third quarter was 72-61 on a three-point play by Steve Blake with 2:27 left. Abdur-Rahim, a former Blazer, answered with a jumper to spark a 10-4 run to close the stanza.
Keeping with the theme, Miller ended the spurt with another 3-pointer at the buzzer, part of Sacramento's 12-of-18 effort from the arc. Miller was 4-of-6 and Mike Bibby 4-of-5 en route to 19 points.
"We were good in all aspects of the game tonight," Bibby said. "Earlier in the year, they embarrassed us at home so we felt we owed them one and wanted to come in here tonight and get us one. We weren't going to take them lightly."
Bibby was referring to a 105-92 setback to Portland on Dec. 26, when Sacramento had a very different roster. On Wednesday, Sacramento finished with 33 assists against six turnovers in defeating Portland for the fifth time in seven meetings.
"It feels good playing as a team," Miller said. "I mean, 33 assists - I wish we could do that more often. It's up to us to play like this and get right for the playoffs. If we share the ball and play with each other, we can be a pretty good offensive team."
Viktor Khryapa scored 12 of his 18 points after the break to lead Portland, which saw its losing streak grow to a season-high nine games.
"I thought we got caught ball-watching," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "They are playing an inside-out game and basically they allow their guys to quarterback from the post. I thought Jarrett Jack played hard, Viktor, (Steve) Blake. The guys played hard, but are we talented enough to win the game?"
Jack, a rookie, seemed to think not.
"It was just a clinic showing us how the game is played," said Jack, who had 12 points and five assists in his second start this season. "They really shared the ball. You can tell they enjoy moving it around. It doesn't matter who gets the buckets or gets the assists."
Portland's slide is its longest since the 1985-86 season, when it lost 12 in a row.