Can we go back to 2013? The Portland Trail Blazers (26-9) have somewhat fallen back to earth, losing games to teams they should beat and going through poor shooting stretches, tonight the Sacramento Kings (11-22) took advantage and won handily 123-119 at the Sleep Train Arena. The Blazers, who won the first two series against the Kings, struggled with turnovers, three-pointers, fouls and watched DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay explode offensively. Portland has now lost four of their last six games.
As points where hard to come by against the 76ers in their last game, the Blazers looked promising, nailing 10-14 from the field and shooting over 60% and took an 11-point lead. The biggest red flag was turnovers, and it was horrendous. The biggest culprit was Damian Lillard, who threw it away three times in the quarter and resulted to six points for the Kings in transition. Sacramento was left to take wide open shots from deep but couldn’t make Portland pay, instead forcing Cousins, Gay and Isaiah Thomas to run inside and score in the paint. Portland fans everywhere were hoping for the big introduction of CJ McCollum, but were surprised to an early shift for Will Barton instead. He hits the Blazers’ first three-point shot and Portland is up 35-24 through 12 minutes.
But guess what, the lead wouldn’t last as the second unit came in. They coughed up the lead after Jimmer Fredette hits a couple three-point shots. Robin Lopez gets put on a poster by a dunk from Quincy Acy and the Kings were rolling. Portland kept a 60-55 lead to halftime but it was a confusing and frustrating lead as it felt like we really didn’t deserve it.
The third was where it really unraveled for Portland. Turnovers, 13-points total for the quarter and it was just an absolute mess. The Kings suddenly became hot from downtown, got several and-1 buckets, more turnovers and it was a meltdown. Want to see how bad the third quarter was? We’re talking 6-22 from the field; shooting percentage dipped to 30% and were down 80-73.
Rudy Gay singlehandedly was smacking the Blazers in the face and extended the Kings lead to 16. A spirited comeback came too late as Damian Lillard went nuts from three to make things somewhat interesting, but nay.
Who was Hot
- DeMarcus Cousins is probably making a good case for best center in the Western Conference and goes another 30+ points against Portland for the third straight game. He finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds on 13-28 from the field and 9-15 from the foul line in 43 minutes.
- While Toronto is starting to get hot, so are the Kings with the new addition of Rudy Gay who is starting to see some positive movement in his statistics. He was unstoppable in the third but fouls out midway through the fourth, he follows Cousins closely with 32 points, five rebounds, four assists, 10-16 from the floor, 3-5 from three and a perfect 9-9 from the foul line.
- It’s a shame that Damian Lillard’s new career-high 41 points will be overlooked with the terrible loss tonight. Most of his damage came in the fourth as he goes for 26 and sets a new franchise record for most points by a player in a quarter. To go along with his 41, he had seven rebounds, four assists, 7-13 three-pointers but a whopping six turnovers.
Who Was Not
- Let’s forget this one and pretend it never happened shall we? I won’t tell if you won’t.
- The Kings go 36-50 from the foul line to 31-36 for the Blazers
- This game felt super long than normal, all because there were 56 fouls together and the refs weren’t letting anything get through tonight and were not on top of things.
- Nicolas Batum wore a finger splint on his left finger on his non-shooting hand but looked very uncomfortable just passing the ball or even dribbling upcourt. He does collect 11 points and 11 rebounds but he was off, and when Wesley Matthews is struggling as well offensively, nothing is going to get done.
Ouch. Tomorrow the Blazers face the lowly Orlando Magic at the Moda Center so hopefully this loss stings enough that it sets a fire under the Blazers.