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  • RON RYAN / Associated Press

    Jason Thompson, reacting to a foul, and the Kings fell to 1-12 on the road this season after being hammered by Portland.

  • DON RYAN / Associated Press

    Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge powers home a two-handed dunk in front of the Kings' Francisco Garcia for two of his 28 points.

Kings may as well have stayed home

Published: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 - 10:53 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. – Down their two leading scorers, the Kings didn't have much margin for error.

So overcoming a 25-7 run leading into halftime was too much to ask of shorthanded Sacramento, which lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 109-91 Wednesday night.

Center DeMarcus Cousins and guard Tyreke Evans weren't at the Rose Garden. Cousins was left in Sacramento following his suspension Saturday for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team. He was reinstated Monday. Evans didn't travel because of a sore left knee.

The Kings beat Portland at home Sunday with a "perfect" game they couldn't duplicate on the road.

"We gave what we could and what we had, but we had to play a perfect game to pull this off," Kings coach Keith Smart said.

The Kings shot 40.7 percent and were outrebounded 53-35 without Cousins, their leading rebounder.

The Kings fell to 9-19, the second-worst record in the Western Conference, and 1-12 on the road.

"It's tough, but that's what a team is for, to cover each other's back," forward John Salmons said. "We've got two guys down. We've just got to step up and keep it moving."

It was Portland's largest rebounding margin and its most rebounds in regulation this season.

The Blazers (14-13) also had a 27-11 edge in second-chance points and outscored the Kings 50-36 in the paint while shooting 50.6 percent.

"We'll take our lumps here and then try to put our team back together again and get ready to play our next basketball game," Smart said.

Some of the lumps have been self-inflicted in the case of Cousins, who has missed five games this season for disciplinary reasons.

The latest discipline stemmed from a verbal altercation with Smart during halftime of Friday's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles. Cousins was benched for the second half of that game and left in the locker room.

Smart said it was never the intention for Cousins to play Wednesday.

"I just made the decision," Smart said when asked why Cousins didn't travel. "I wanted him to get back around the team and eventually start playing, but right now, I made the decision that he wasn't going to come with us."

Smart reiterated a point he made Monday.

"I never said when I reinstated him he was going to come back and play," Smart said. "Everyone took it and ran with it."

Smart wouldn't commit to Cousins being available for Friday's game against the New York Knicks.

"We'll see once I get in town," Smart said. "We'll go to practice (today), and then we'll go from there."

Evans missed his fifth consecutive game and has missed 11 of the past 14 games because of his balky knee.

He bruised it Nov. 27 when he bumped knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko and missed six games.

Evans played in two games before leaving a game Dec. 16 because of knee soreness and isn't likely to play soon.

Evans and Cousins are the two cornerstones of the Kings' rebuilding plan, and not having either makes it difficult to win games.

"It's tough, but it's definitely not an excuse even if we play good or bad," guard Isaiah Thomas said. "We know how to play without those two guys."

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