The Sacramento Kings got behind early, recovered long enough to get back to within one early in the second half, then watched the Portland Trail Blazers run off 12 straight points over a 3:33 span in the middle of the third quarter en route to a 104-91 loss Friday night at the Moda Center.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Kings (1-4) since an opening night win over the Denver Nuggets.
The teams will finish their back-to-back, home-and-home set Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento got as close as six points in the fourth quarter when DeMarcus Cousins converted a pass from Isaiah Thomas for a driving layup to make it 90-84 with 4:53 left. But Portland answered with six straight points from LaMarcus Aldridge to salt the game away.
The Kings had no defensive answers for the Blazers, who shot 48.8 percent on the night (39-for-80) and led by 11 heading into the final period. Portland also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Sacramento 47-31.
Cousins had a big offensive night, scoring a season-high 35 points on 13-for-25 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds to go with four steals.
But Cousins didn’t get much help—the rest of the Kings shot a combined 23-for-61 (37.8 percent) and Sacramento was just 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from long range.
Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to score 13 points and hand out seven assists, Greivis Vasquez added 12 points and six dimes and Patrick Patterson and Travis Outlaw scored 10 points each.
All five Portland starters scored in double figures, led by Damian Lillard, who had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Aldridge added 20 points, Wesley Matthews scored 18, Nicolas Batum had 14 and Robin Lopez chipped in with 11. Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick by the Kings in 2012 before he was traded to the Houston Rockets at the deadline in February, came off the bench for 10 points in 12 minutes for the Blazers.
First-round draft pick Ben McLemore was a non-factor for Sacramento, picking up four fouls in just seven minutes.