Photo: Richaun Holmes returned to the Kings lineup on Saturday night @NBCS
by Charlie O. Mallonee
Where were you on December 8, 2012? The Sacramento Kings were in Portland and that was the last time they won a basketball game in “Rip City” until Saturday night. After suffering 12 consecutive losses over seven-plus years in Portland, the Sacramento Kings broke the curse and beat the Trail Blazers on their homecourt 123-111.
The Trail Blazers (28-37) and Kings (28-35) are both fighting to jump into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That slot is currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies who have not been able to distance themselves from the Kings, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs and even the Suns who have a real chance to qualify for the playoffs.
This was the final meeting of the season between the Kings and the Blazers. The teams split the series 2-2.
The Kings started fast
The Kings started the game like a “Top Fuel” dragster. Harrison Barnes led the way scoring 11 points in the first quarter that saw Sacramento outscore Portland 40-24.
The Kings shot 55.2-percent (16-for-29) overall in the period and went 5-for-9 (55.6%) from behind the 3-point line. They dished out 11 assists in the first 12 minutes while making five steals. SAC was simply overwhelming.
The train kept rolling in the second quarter
The Kings did not cool off in the second period. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic decided it was time “to make it rain” 3-pointers. The two shooting guards combined to hit 7-of-8 shots from downtown. As a team, Sacramento shot 9-for-12 (75%) from behind the arc.
The Kings outscored the Blazers 37-30 in the quarter.
Hield put up 14 points while Bogdanovic added 11.
At halftime, Sacramento held a 77-54 lead over Portland.
The Trail Blazers did just roll over and quit
When you have CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard on your team, you are never out of contention as long as there is time on the clock. Portland did not get hot, but they did play better than the Kings in the third quarter.
Sacramento cooled off in the third stanza as might have been expected. They shot 6-for-21 (28.6%) from the field; however, five of those baskets came from 3-point land.
Portland won the quarter 26-23, but the Kings still held a 100-80 lead after 36 minutes of play.
Wave the white flag
The Kings opened the final quarter by going on an 8-2 run that broke the Trail Blazers back. Portland tried to get back into the game, but it was too late.
Terry Stotts emptied his bench and the reserves played with vigor, but it was a futile effort.
The Kings won the game 123-111.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points
- Hassan Whiteside and CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 19 points each
- Whiteside was the top rebounder with 11 grabs to give him a double-double
- Richaun Holmes – who supplied some much-needed energy to the Kings – hauled in eight rebounds
- De’Aaron Fox made it a double-double game by dishing out 11 assists in the contest
- Lillard and McCollum led Portland with six assists each
The Kings jumped on their plane and flew back to Sacramento where they will host the defending NBA Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.
Portland will be off until Tuesday when they will host the Phoenix Suns.