PORTLAND, Ore. — Just win, Blazers.
That was all Portland’s NBA team cared about Monday at Moda Center.
The Trail Blazers, who beat Sacramento 105-93 after leading by 28 points, said they didn’t care that the Kings were resting starters DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo. The Blazers also said they didn’t care that their own starters got a little rest but not a night off.
“It’s silly,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said of the talk that key players, notably himself, perhaps needing more time off down the stretch of the regular season.
Lillard played 29 minutes Monday, seven under his per-game average, and for once he was just one of the guys for the Blazers. He scored 13 points and added a game-high nine assists.
Reserve guard Allen Crabbe led Portland with 21 points. He was one of six Blazers in double figures, as Portland used all 13 of its players and enjoyed a 46-24 edge in scoring off the bench.
Portland improved to 39-36, 24-12 at home, and climbed within 2 1/2 games of the No. 5 team in the Western Conference, Memphis. The Grizzlies fell to 41-33 with a 101-87 home-court loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
“It was good to get one like that,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of being able to hold his starters to an average of 24 minutes and coast after building a 91-63 lead through three quarters. “It was good not to extend the minutes and move on.”
Portland guard CJ McCollum, who scored 16 points, said the Blazers didn’t count this win before it was hatched against the star-less Kings.
“This is the NBA, so regardless of who comes out there, guys can play,” McCollum said. “You never know what kind of plays they’re going to run, because their entire offense changes without Cousins and Gay and Rondo. There’s less isolations and pick-and-rolls, more fastbreak opportunities.”
The Kings were indeed able to run with the Blazers — for most of one quarter. The teams were tied at 31-31 late in the opening period. Portland then outscored Sacramento 33-17 and stayed on top by 16 at the half, 68-52.
Crabbe said what he liked most about the game was the Blazers’ defensive intensity. The team, he said, talked before the game “to make sure we take their confidence and hit them hard when we first came out.”
“We just had to worry about ourselves, be tight offensively and play together defensively, and just overwhelm them,” the point guard said.
Sacramento (29-45) got a season-high 21 points from guard Seth Curry, who replaced Rondo in the lineup. Forward Omri Casspi added 18 points. Rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein had a game-high 14 rebounds and 13 points.
“We were playing at a pretty good level in the first quarter, then we kind of lost our confidence offensively for two quarters,” Kings coach George Karl said. “Then we finally started making shots, and our defense somewhat improved throughout the game.
“Seth had a solid game. We probably needed our guards to make basketball plays for each other, other than what we got done tonight. We made some good plays, but we never made the kind of plays like the extra-pass play, the extra-together kind of ‘we’ play that motivates a team that has to overachieve to be good. We never got that kind of karma.”
The Blazers have more than good karma going for them, according to Karl.
“Portland has got a bunch of gunslingers,” the Sacramento coach said. “You give them a little space and they punish it. They played very, very well. Early in the game, they made shots. We weren’t playing bad defense, we just weren’t playing good enough defense. The way they play sometimes is they catch you in that no-man’s land or the half-a-second slow reaction.
“They shot the ball so well in the first half (55.6 percent), their confidence was off the charts.”
NOTES: G Damian Lillard passed Kiki Vandeweghe on the Blazers’ all-time scoring list and now ranks 13th with 6,701 career points. … G CJ McCollum became the eighth Blazer to post 1,500-plus points and 300-plus assists, joining Lillard, Clyde Drexler, Brandon Roy, Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Tom Owens and Mychal Thompson. … The Blazers’ bench took 37 of the team’s 80 field-goal attempts. … Portland was 14-for-29 from 3-point range. The Blazers made 11 in the first half (on 15 attempts), one short of the franchise record for 3-pointers made in a half. … The Blazers took a 3-0 lead in the season series.