A lot of things happened Monday night that pointed toward the Kings pulling off their biggest road win of the season.
The Portland Trail Blazers struggled on offense. They were without LaMarcus Aldridge, one of the best power forwards in the NBA, for most of the game.
But the Kings, who have hurt themselves repeatedly this season with turnovers, did so again Monday night at Moda Center in a 98-94 loss.
It was the fourth consecutive loss for Sacramento, while Portland ended a season-worst three-game losing streak.
The Kings committed 23 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter when the Blazers rallied after trailing for most of the second half.
The Kings led by as many as 13 points and nine in the fourth quarter, when they gave up 11 points off their turnovers.
“That’s a ton in a close game like this,” said Kings coach Tyrone Corbin. “They scored 31 points in that fourth quarter, and it hurt us.”
Losing their top offensive option late also hurt the Kings. The score was tied 89-89 with 1:50 to play when DeMarcus Cousins fouled out.
Cousins departed with 22 points and 19 rebounds and matched his season high with four blocks.
“He’s a guy that we use with Rudy (Gay) and Darren (Collison) to close the game out,” Corbin said. “To lose him when we did cut some of our options down.”
Portland All-Star Damian Lillard took over late with six points in the final 1:20 while the Kings went the final 4:15 without a field goal.
“We’ve got to do better with the ball as far as our execution down the stretch,” Collison said. “Again, I thought we played hard down the stretch, but some things didn’t go our way, unfortunately.”
The Kings (16-25) held Portland to 39.8 percent shooting, but their turnovers helped the Trail Blazers generate enough offense, even without Aldridge, to win.
There were positives to take from the loss, Corbin said.
“The pace of the game was good,” he said. “I thought we defended very well until we got ourselves going. I thought we fought hard in the game with the focus and energy that we had. I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win. It’s a disappointing loss, but I’m happy with the effort from the guys.”
The Kings had a season-low five turnovers in their last win but are averaging 19 during their losing streak.
All the turnovers were by the starters, led by Gay with six. Collison and Cousins had five each. Ben McLemore had three and Jason Thompson two.
The other two turnovers came on a shot-clock violation and a five-second inbound violation.
Collison said the hardest part of the loss is that the Kings have played so many games like this during the season where they can look at their own mistakes as a big reason for a defeat.
“We’ve just got to learn from it,” Collison said. “We've just got to do better. It just seems like it’s a common theme throughout the whole season, and it’s tough because these are games where we’re up, we have a lead against very good teams, and we’re not able to finish the game.”
Lillard led Portland (31-11) with 22 points and five assists. Wesley Matthews had 17 points. Aldridge had 10 points before injuring his left hand in the second quarter.
Gay led Sacramento with 26 points. Collison had 13 points and a game-high eight assists. McLemore had 11 points.