As CJ McCollum sees it, there’s no time like the present for the Trail Blazers to snap out of their defensive funk.
McCollum scored 20 points and Portland snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
The win ended the Blazers’ longest skid of the season and was the second straight game they have shown intensity on defense — something that has eluded them at times this season.
“The sense of urgency has risen. We understand where we’re at in the season. We understand where we turned the corner at last year, about the same time. So if we want to get better, the time is now,” McCollum said.
Meyers Leonard added 16 off the bench for the Blazers, playing without leading scorer Damian Lillard for the second straight game because of a sprained left ankle.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 28 points but the Kings had their four-game winning streak snapped.
“You could tell their game plan was to make everybody else have big games instead of myself,” Cousins said. “It was successful tonight. It worked.”
The Kings trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half. Matt Barnes’ corner 3-pointer with 2 minutes to go pulled Sacramento within 98-87, before Cousins hit on a floater to get closer. Mason Plumlee answered with a dunk for Portland and the Kings couldn’t catch up.
Plumlee finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The teams last met on Dec. 20, a 126-121 Sacramento victory that was marked by drama — namely an ejection reversal — involving Cousins.
Cousins scored 55 points in the win….
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