Portland Trail Blazers guard Dennis Smith Jr. (10) isn’t going too far against Sacramento Kings center Tristan Thompson (13) as Thompson draws the foul at the Golden One Center in Sacramento on Wed Nov 24, 2021 (AP News photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
SACRAMENTO—Desperate for a win, the Sacramento Kings bench players rose up to the challenge.
Marvin Bagley III hit a three pointer with 30.5 second left in the game to ice a 125-121 victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Thanksgiving Eve at the Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento snapped its four-game losing streak and won its first game under interim coach Alvin Gentry since he took over the head coaching duties this past Sunday after the dismissal of Luke Walton on Sunday. Portland had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Buddy Hield led all Kings in scoring with 22 points on 6 of 15 shooting, including 5 of 11 from beyond the arc, off the bench. Davion Mitchell had a big fourth quarter scoring 12 of his 16 points in the winning effort.
Bagley III scored a season high 10 points off the bench as the Kings bench were responsible for 61 of the 125 points.
“I was happy for Marvin (Bagley III) and thought he played a really great game,” Gentry said.
Sacramento (7-12) got off to the fast start that has plagued them for the past month. A balanced scoring attack from the starting five had the Kings jumped out to a 20-12 lead, which included a 10-0 run in a three-minute period.
Jusuf Nurkic dominated the opening quarter for Portland (10-9) as he scored 14 points on 7 of 9 from the floor. Portland had two runs, a 12-4 and a 10-6 to end the quarter with a 36-32 lead.
Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 17 first half points in the second quarter including a 30-foot three pointer to power the Blazers offense in the second quarter.
De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 10 points of 17 first half points in the second quarter on four of five shooting.
Blazers power forward Robert Covington was ejected from the game with 49 seconds left in the game for throwing his goggles at an official.
The two teams put on an offensive showcase as they combined for 72 points in the second quarter as Portland had 71-69 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was the exact opposite of the second quarter with sloppy play and horrible shooting from both teams in the first nine minutes of the quarter. The Kings didn’t register its first point of the third quarter until 9:25 left when Harrison Barnes hit one of two free throws.
The Kings outscored the Blazers 24-21 in the quarter to take a 93-92 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We gotta have fun out there,” said Kings point guard Tyrese Haliburton. “We gotta get the crowd involved. I think that was big for us tonight.”
Lillard led the Blazers in scoring with 32 points on 7 of 18 shooting (but just 3 of 12 from beyond the arc) and 15 of 16 from the free throw line. Nurkic finished with a double-double, 28 points and 17 rebounds. Normal Powell had a strong game with 22 points on 50% shooting from the floor. Nassir Little chipped in with 16 points off the bench.
Fox, who was also ejected from the game for arguing with the refs, led the Kings’ starters with 21 points on eight of 13 shooting from the field, including four for four from the free throw line.
GAME NOTES: Sacramento finished 12-for-33 from beyond the arc. Portland was 12-for-33.
Barnes, who left the game with an injury, had X-rays taken after the game and were negative. “Our doctors are pretty optimistic that everything’s going to be fine,” said Gentry.
UP NEXT: Sacramento travel out to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers on Friday 11/26 at 7:30pm at Staples Center.