The Kings make it rain in Portland to get a big 123-111 win on Saturday night

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.

Playoff implications

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.

Top Performers

Leading scorers

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points
  • Hassan Whiteside and CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 19 points each

Glass cleaners

  • 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

Dropping dimes

  • 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

Up next

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.




Kings win again, downing Portland 107-99 on Tuesday night

SAC 11-12

By Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTOOn Tuesday night, the Kings played their first game since learning that star point guard De’Aaron Fox was going to be unavailable to the team for an extended period of time. Fox suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain, which usually implies ligament damage, at the end of practice on Monday. Fox is currently on crutches and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. How long Fox will be gone has yet to be determined.

NBA observers immediately predicted “doom and gloom”

The national experts who cover the NBA almost immediately declared that the injury to Fox ended any chance the Kings had of making a playoff run this season. The team had stumbled out of the starting gate losing their first five games but seemed to be putting things together after going 2-1 on their first road trip to the East Coast.

“Those in the know” felt that the team would not be able to overcome the loss of Fox who is their uptempo playmaker. Fox is also a key scorer for the team when they need a boost on the scoreboard.

Tuesday night the Kings had to face the Portland Trail Blazers in their first test without Fox on the floor. Sacramento had lost to the Blazers 122-112 at home in the second of the season.

Portland tried to take control in the first half

The Trail Blazers came out in the first quarter shooting 50% from the floor and 33% from 3-point range. The Kings really struggled as they shot just 34.6% from the field and a miserable 16.7% from downtown. What kept Sacramento in the game was their volume of shots.

Portland hit 9 of 18 shots in the opening period while the Kings put in 9 of 26 attempts from the field. The Blazers held just a 24-21 lead when the first quarter came to a close.

The Kings’ shooting and defense improved in the second quarter, and they matched the Blazers in almost every statistical category. Portland was up by only three points, 49-46, at the half.

Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts said after the game: “Sacramento didn’t shoot the ball particularly well – neither team shot the ball well in the first half. I felt like we should have had a bigger lead at halftime.”

Could the Kings overcome their Third Quarter nemesis?

The Kings have experienced difficulty in the third quarter in the majority of their games so far this season. They have had a tendency to start the period slowly and then watch their opponents put them in a position where they have to play catch up in the fourth quarter.

That did not happen on Tuesday night. Sacramento outscored Portland 35-21 in the third period. They accomplished that by shooting an outstanding 57.9% (11-for-19) overall and sinking 2 of 5 (40%) from long range. They also converted 11 of 13 opportunities from free throw line.

At the end of 36 minutes of play, Sacramento led Portland 81-70.

Portland Head Coach Terry Stotts: “They got off to a good start in the third quarter and built a lead and we really couldn’t recover from that initial burst at the start of the third quarter.”

Portland did not give up in the fourth

The Blazers outscored the Kings 29-26 in the final 12 minutes and cut the Sacramento lead down to five points with 2:51 to go in the game. Bjelica hit a 26-foot, 3-point shot to give his team an eight-point lead. The Kings would go on to win the game 107-99.

The Kings record improves to 4-6 and they have now won 4 of their last 5 games. Portland’s record drops to 4-7 on the young season.

After the game, Luke Walton wanted to talk “D”

“I want to talk about our defense. It’s been what we’ve been preaching about every day since day one of training camp and I’m the first to admit, it needs to get a lot better. But that’s why – not only tonight but I feel like slowly even if our numbers haven’t showed it, guys are starting to understand and really make steps as far as individual defense and team defense. Tonight, we started the game, we couldn’t make anything – great shooters, wide-open shots – and that’s why defense is important.”

Focus on the Kings

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic was the Kings top scorer. He came off the bench to score 25 points and dish out 10 assists. “Bogi” scored 25 of the Kings 36 bench points.
  • Buddy Hield added 20 points in 37 minutes of playing time. Hield did not have a great night shooting just 7-for-21, but he hit big shots when they were needed.
  • Nemanja Bjelica recorded a double-double scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Blazers top performers

  • To no one’s surprise, Damian Lillard scored a game-high 27 points. “Dame” went 13-for-14 from the free throw line. He also played almost 38 minutes. He is truly an incredible player.
  • CJ McCollum added 24 points shooting a very nice 11-for-21 from the floor.
  • Hassan Whiteside had another nice game against the Kings as he put up 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds.

Up next

The Kings will be off until Friday night when they will face the Lakers at Staples Center in LA.

The Blazers head home for the back end of a back-to-back with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

Same teams, different city with different result: Blazers down Kings 102-90


by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings traveled to Portland to play the second game of a home and home, back-to-back set on Saturday night. The Kings hoped to make it two in a row over the Trail Blazers after their big win on Friday night. Those hopes would not be fulfilled.

The Blazers took their revenge on the Kings by winning game two 102-90. Portland combined strong defense with high-percentage shooting to prevent the Kings from ever having a real chance of winning the game.


Portland backcourt comes aliveELY_2788.CR2


The Trail Blazers starting guards – Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum – are the focal point of the Portland offense. If the two guards cannot be shutdown, the chances of beating “Rip City” becomes very problematic.

Against the Kings Saturday night, Lillard and McCollum combined to account for 47 of the Blazers 102 points.

McCollum scored a game-high 25 points shooting 9-for-16 overall and 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line. He also was a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line while dishing out four assists, grabbing four rebounds and making two steals.

Lillard posted 22 points hitting 8-of-18 shots from the field. He did have a rough night from long-range going just 1-for-8 from downtown. Lillard did convert 5-of-6 from the free throw line and recorded six assists.

Nurkic was a different player 


Jusuf Nurkic was not factor on Friday night in Sacramento. On Saturday, the big man scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Nurkic was factor under the basket on both ends of the court.

Meyers Leonard was a real pain

A 7-foot-1 center is supposed to be parked down low near the basket – not if you are Meyers Leonard. Leonard is a long-range shooter who really does not have a great deal of skills under the bucket.

Leonard came off the bench to score 11 points for the Blazers. He shot 4-for-8 overall and hit 3-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line. Leonard also hauled in seven rebounds.

Rip City was on fire shooting the ball

Portland shot 54.3-percent (38-for-70) from the floor in the game while hitting 10-of-21 (47.6-percent)  three-point opportunites. The Blazers took advantage of the free throw line converting 16-of-21 opportunities from the stripe.


Cauley-Stein leads the way again


Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench for the Kings again on Saturday night and for the second game in a row he was the Kings high-scorer. The big man scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Blazers.

Cauley-Stein went 1-for-1 from 3-point land. It was the first 3-point basket for Cauley-Stein of his NBA career.

Z-Bo is back

Big Zach Randolph did not score a point and looked tired on Friday night versus Portland. On Saturday night, he looked energized and ready to play. Randolph scored 17 points and pulled down five rebounds in his 21-plus minutes on the floor.

Randolph shot 6-for-11 overall including one 3-point basket. He went an impressive 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

Four guards scored in double figures

Frank Mason is making the most of his playing time. Saturday night he scored 13 points shooting 50-percent (5-for-10) from the field in his 19-minutes of playing time. Mason also added two assists.

George Hill had another strong game shooting 5-for-11 from the field and scoring 12 points. He converted 2-of-3 three-point opportunities.

Bogdan Bogdanovic showed signs that his shot may be coming back as he went 5-for-13 from the floor and hit 2-of-6 from downtown. His form has been looking good but the ball has just not been going through the hoop.

De’Aaron Fox got the start again as Dave Joerger went with the two point guard look once again. Fox scored 11 points in 27-minutes on the floor. Fox hit 5-of-9 from the floor and dished out two assists to go with two steals.

Almost everyone played

The Kings went with a 12-man bench for this game because Buddy Hield rolled his ankle on Friday night. The good news for Kings fans is that Hield was feeling much better on Saturday but was held out as a precaution. He is expected to be available for the game on Monday against Denver.

Only Justin Jackson did enter the game on Saturday night for the Kings. Jackson did not play on Friday versus the Blazers.



The Kings will return to action Monday night when they will host the Denver Nuggets at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.


The Trail Blazers head out on the road and will play in Memphis on Monday night.



Portland take Game 3 thanks to Lillard’s 40 points

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Columnist

AP photo: Rip City Portland Trailblazers Damian Lillard scores 40 on the Golden State Warriors in game three in Portland on Saturday

PORTLAND, OR — So much for the Portland Trail Blazers wilting under pressure.

Damian Lillard poured in a career-high 40 points added 10 assists, igniting Portland to a 120-108 victory Saturday night in Game 3 of the their Western Conference semifinal series.

With the win, Portland becomes just the second team to beat Golden State twice this season while trimming the Warriors’ lead, 2-1 in their best-of-7 series.

“I was really happy about the way we played tonight,” Lillard, who shot 14-of-27 from the field, including 8-0f-13 on 3s, said postgame. “We were the more aggressive team down the stretch.”

The Trail Blazers led 58-46 at halftime, and even saw their lead balloon to as much as 2o points in the fourth quarter.

Al Farouq-Aminu added 23 points and 10 rebounds while starting the game shooting 7-of-7 before finishing 8-of-9 from the floor. Aminu was even deadly from behind the three-point line, knocking down 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.

C.J. McCollum, who started off the game 1-of-7, finished the game with 22 points on 8-0f-18 shooting.

Draymond Green scored a career-high 37 points, including 8-of-12 on 3s (also a career-high for any game). Green drained five 3s en route to a 19 point third quarter, but took responsibility for Golden State’s loss.

“That team [Portland], they had doubt. I could tell they had doubt,” said Green. “And we didn’t take advantage of it…And that’s on me.”

Golden State’s defense looked erratic at best at times.

As a team, Portland shot the lights out the ball from deep, converting 17-of-30 on 3s. The Trail Blazers shot 46-percent from the floor (40-of-86).

But the heartbeat of the Warriors has already gone on record that Golden State will make the necessary adjustments to win Game 4.

“We’ll be better there [defensively],” Green added. “I’ll be better. We’ll win.”

Klay Thompson scored 18 of his 35 points in the first quarter. Thompson was blistering hot in the first quarter, making 7-of-12 shots, including 4-of-5 on 3s. It was the second time this series that Thompson scored 18 points in the opening period, accomplishing the feet in Game 1.

There is the possibility of Stephen Curry  suiting up for Game 4 on Monday in Portland. The MVP played two-on-two Saturday before Game 3 and participated in additional drills, but no word has been given regarding Curry’s availability.

Golden State could use Curry’s scoring, especially tonight.

Outside of the huge performances from Green and Thompson, and Leandro Barbosa’s 10 points off the bench, Golden State didn’t have any other players in double-figures.

Harrison Barnes (2-of-8) and Andre Iguodala (0-for-5) combined for 8 points, while Shaun Livingston finished with just 2 points.




Portland hands Sacramento a 98-94 loss

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – The young Portland Trail Blazers outworked the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night and walked away with a 98-94 victory on the road.

The Blazers won the without their star player – Damian Lillard – who is sidelined with left plantar fasciitis.

There were two keys to the Portland (13-20) victory. The first key was the play of guard CJ McCollum who scored 35 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and recorded 9 assists for a solid double-double game.

The second key to the Trail Blazers win was the solid play of their bench. The Portland bench outscored the Kings bench 42-23. Meyers Leonard (16) and Maurice Harkless (13) provided strong play and scoring while the starters were on the bench.

The Trail Blazers demonstrated energy and effort that the Kings were unable to match. This game was the first time this season the Kings lost after leading at halftime. Sacramento was 10-0 when they took a lead to the locker room at the half until Sunday night.

Sacramento (12-18) lacked consistency versus Portland. Their offense was stagnant.

DeMarcus Cousins led the way for the Kings putting up 36 points. Cousins was 12-for-26 from the floor while going 2-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line. When your center leads the team in 3-point attempts, that spells trouble for the offense.

Rudy Gay (7 points) was 2-for-12 shooting. Starting shooting guard Ben McLemore (5) took just one shot from the floor in his 19 minutes of playing time.

The Kings shot 39.5-percent from the field (30-for-76). It is almost impossible to win a game in the NBA when your team shoots under 40-percent.

The other major problem the Kings experienced in the game was turnovers. They committed 23 turnovers in the contest. Those turnovers led to 28 Portland points. A team cannot be that careless with the ball and expect to win.

For Sacramento, it was a very disappointing loss because this was a game that they should have won on their home court. A win would have moved the Kings into the eighth spot in Western Conference by percentage points. This is the type of loss that keeps teams out of the playoffs.

Things get no easier for the Kings as they have to face the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Monday night. Sacramento will to bring its “A-game” just to be competitive against the best team in the Association.