by Michael Martinez
picture credit NBAE
SACRAMENTO- The Kings rested their three best players. Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins all sat out Monday night in Portland. With that being said, there probably was not a ton of hope to get a win over the Trail Blazers who are battling for a playoff spot. The Kings lost to the Blazers 105-93.
Surprisingly though, the Kings stayed in the game for the first quarter. Sacramento played well, except Portland could not miss a shot even if they tried.
The Blazers broke it open in the second quarter going up by as many as 16 and shooting slightly over 55% from the field. But the third quarter is where things fell apart for the Kings.
While Portland only scored 23 points, the Kings shot a dismal 25% in the third quarter and scored a measly 11 points. The Kings turned the ball over seven times and could not buy a bucket. The Blazers led Sacramento by as many as 28 points and the Kings never really had a chance.
The fourth was the Kings chance to try and come back but the deficit was just too much, even though Portland shot under 30% in the quarter. Seth Curry scored 12 points in the quarter and finished for a career high of 21. Curry was really the only bright spot as the Kings perimeter defense wasn’t very tough. Portland almost shot 50% from beyond the arc, knocking down 14 shots from the perimeter.
Portland’s Allen Crabbe elicited exactly what the Blazers did tonight. He tied Curry for the game high with 21 points on 8-10 shooting, 3-4 from behind the three point line. The most difficult part of this loss is the fact that Damian Lillard only scored 13 points and the Kings still never had a chance.
Nonetheless, when the team’s three best players are resting, nabbing a victory is going to be pretty difficult. Yet again, the Kings’ defensive woes hurt them as Portland shot lights out.
Omri Casspi had a pretty good game with 18 points. Willie Cauley-Stein added 13 points and grabbed 14 boards as the rookie continues to play well. As the season winds down, this game shows just how important Gay, Rondo and Cousins are to the team. The Kings will take on the Washington Wizards at home this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hopefully the Kings’ big three comes back and helps them get another win at home.