Photo credit: @trailblazers
By Jeremiah Salmonson
The Sacramento Kings were coming off a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls. They arrived at the Moda Center to play the Portland Trail Blazers, who have struggled this year coming off a tough double-digit loss to the Clippers the night before. Both the Kings and the Blazers are banged up with starters and role players hurt. Namely, the Kings started the game having declared Bogdan Bogdanovic out with a knee contusion. So, the Kings needed big contributions from Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and Richaun Holmes to compete with the Blazers.
In the first quarter, it was a tale of two stories. In the first six minutes, the Kings looked like a team lost in the Pacific Northwest as the Blazers jumped to an early 24-16 lead. From there, the Kings looked a different team. Struggling guard Buddy Hield started making shots and the Kings took off to finish the quarter up 35-30. Buddy finished the quarter with 14 points to lead the Kings.
In the second quarter, both teams continued their torrid pace. Thanks to both teams continuing to get the ball up and down the court, the game turned into a shootout. Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes led the Kings on the offensive end scoring 17 and 11, respectively, in the first half. For Portland, a major portion of the offense was scored by CJ McCollum, who had 23 points while shooting better than 75% from the field. Headed into halftime, the Kings trailed the Blazers 66-64.
The first half treated fans to a shootout. In the third quarter, both teams continued to put up points. Kings center Richaun Holmes had a great quarter in which he scored 10 points. Buddy Hield and Nemenja Bjelica also continued to score to keep the Kings close. However, the Blazers were able to hit a few more shots and led the Kings 95-100 going into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Kings hoped to turn what had been a shootout into a win. If they hoped to accomplish this, they needed to tighten up their play on the defensive end and continue to hit shots on offense. Unfortunately, the Kings fell victim to what the NBA knows as “Dame Time” as Damian Lillard played extremely well in the fourth and made a series of difficult shots to lead the Blazers to a 127-116 victory. CJ McCollum led all scorers with 33 points and Richaun Holmes led the Kings with 28 points and 10 boards. The Kings fell to 8-12 on the season as the Blazers improved to 9-13.
The Blazers stay home to face the LA Lakers on Friday evening at 7:30 pm PST.
The Kings continue the road trip with a three-city Texas swing that starts in San Antonio on Friday evening at 7:30 pm CST.