The Portland Trail Blazers guard Damion Lillard (0) tries to drive underneath the Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes during the first half on opening night at the Moda Center in Portland on Wed Oct 20, 2021 (AP News photo)
Kings Edge the Trail Blazers 124-121
By Barbara Mason
After a most successful pre-season the Sacramento Kings (1-0) took on the Portland Trail Blazers (0-1) on the road at Moda Center in Portland and picked up an opening night win 124-121 to start the regular season. In the pre-season the Kings beat the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers, the Trail Blazers and last Thursday beat the winless Los Angeles Lakers to finish an unblemished pre-season 4-0. They took that winning streak to start the 2021-22 season Wednesday night.
In the pre-season, the Kings De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes had some great performances as well as Buddy Hield and Terence Davis off the bench; performances that they hope to take into the regular season.
Game recap: The first quarter in Portland saw the Kings with a narrow one point lead 23-24 as the clock ran out. De’Aaron Fox had high points in the quarter with ten. The one thing that hurt the Kings last season was their defense. They will be looking for a much improved defense to start the season.
The Kings led for much of the first half. After two quarters Sacramento lead by the score of 62-49. At the half De’Aaron Fox had shot for 16 points and off the bench Buddy Hield had nine points. CJ McCollum finished the first half with 14 points and Damian Lilliard had ten points. Going into the third quarter, the Kings will have to continue to keep the pressure on the Trail Blazers offensively and defensively.
Sacramento continued to apply pressure on both ends of the court in the third quarter. They led 100-85 as the quarter ended and Harrison Barnes really amped up shooting 26 points. Buddy Hield had 12 off the bench as the Kings really dominated the Trail Blazers in the quarter.
After trailing by as many as 17 points the Trail Blazers fought back to within three points with under three minutes left in the game. The Kings would pull it together and squeak out their first win of the season. Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield both shot a couple of free throws to ice this game. It was a heartbreaker for the Trail Blazers after they made such a valiant comeback that just fell short.
Harrison Barnes finished with 36 points and De’Aaron Fox had 27. Buddy had 17 points off the bench. It was a great way to start off the season for the Kings.
The Kings will next take on the Utah Jazz Friday October 22 at Golden One Center in Sacramento the Kings home opener. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.