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.

 

 

 

The Kings lose the final game of their road trip in Memphis 119-115

Buddy Hield vs Memphis
Buddy Hield goes for the steal @NBC CA

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings had to fly home from Memphis licking their wounds after losing the final three games of their four-game road. On Saturday night, the Kings dropped the final game of the road swing to the Grizzlies 119-115. The game was never as close as the final score might imply.

Lead Changes

There were three lead changes in the game; however, the Kings never held the lead after the first quarter of the game. The largest lead of the game for Sacramento was seven points. The Grizzlies biggest lead was 17 points.

Memphis held a 10 point lead – 60 to 50 – at halftime.

By the end of three quarters, the Grizzlies were up 91-78 over the Kings.

The Kings made a big charge in the final period as De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points while Memphis went 12 players deep to rest their starters. Sacramento outscored the Grizzlies 37-28 the fourth quarter but came up four points short of winning the game when the final buzzer sounded.

3-point baskets made the difference 

The Grizzlies hit 15 of 35 attempts (42.9%) from downtown in the game versus the Kings.

The Kings shot just 30.6% (11-for-36) from behind the arc in the contest which ultimately led to their downfall.

The charity stripe was unkind to SAC

The Kings went to the line 24 times but hit only 18 shots.

The Grizzlies went 24-for-29 from the charity stripe. Those six points proved too big when the final horn sounded.

Sacramento

  • Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 25 points in the game.
  • De’Aaron Fox – who got the start in the game – finished with 22 points.
  • Richaun Holmes put up a double-double putting in 18 points and hauling in 12 rebounds.
  • Marvin Bagley III also had a double-double game with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Memphis

  • Jaren Jackson Jr. was the Grizzlies leading scorer with 18 points.
  • Jae Crowder recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Dillon Brooks scored 16 points.
  • Ja Morant and Grayson Allen both scored 13 points in the contest.

Up next

The Kings return home to host the very tough Houston Rockets on Monday night.

The Grizzlies will host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

It’s heartbreak deep in the heart of Texas for the Kings losing in OT to the Spurs 105-104

spurs 2
Graphic: @NBC Sports CA

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings played game two of their four-game road trip on Friday night in San Antonio. The Kings lost game one on Wednesday night in Portland. It took 53 minutes to decide the winner of game two in the “Alamo City”, but when the final buzzer sounded, the Spurs had won the game 105-104 in overtime.

The Kings have now lost five of their last six games and have fallen five games under .500 with a record of 8-13. Not only are the men of SAC headed in the wrong direction in the standings but their immediate future prospects are not great. Their final two games of this road trip are with the Dallas Mavericks (15-5) and the Houston Rockets (14-7) – two of the hottest teams in the NBA.

When the Kings left on this road trip, we projected that they would win one game and lose three. We expected the one win to happen in Portland or San Antonio. Now that Sacramento has lost to both the Trail Blazers and the Spurs, our projection has changed to the team finishing the road trip 0-4. That would put the Kings nine games under .500 by the time they return to Sacramento.

The Kings could have won this game
The game was tied at 89-89 with 3:44 to go in the game. The Kings went on a 9-0 run to take what looked like a commanding lead with just 1:43 remaining in the contest, but this is the NBA and you can never assume anything.

The Spurs scored eight unanswered points in less than a minute. The Kings were stunned. San Antonio possessed the ball with 14.3 seconds to go in regulation time. The Spurs worked the ball to Marco Belinelli with 4.1 seconds on the clock. Belinelli let a 3-pointer fly from the right angle and put it through the hoop to tie the game at 100 apiece and force OT.

Overtime was not pretty
The first point in OT wasn’t scored until the 3:07 mark when DeMar DeRozan hit the first of three free throw attempts. There would be only a total of nine points scored in the entire five minutes of overtime. It was just plain ugly.

The Kings wound up with the final possession of the game when it was ruled that Spurs last touched the ball that went out of bounds after a jump ball.

Sacramento did their best putting up four shots in the final 17.4 seconds to try and take the lead. They fought ferociously to get rebounds to have the opportunity to take another shot but none of their four final attempts would fall. When time expired, the Spurs had won the game 105-104.

Leading scorers

  • Buddy Hield scored a game-high 23 points for the Kings.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge led Spurs scoring attack with 19 points.

The Glass Cleaners

  • Richaun Holmes pulled down 14 rebounds to go with 13 points for a double-double game.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge also had a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds to go with his 19 points.

Tossing out the dimes

  • The Spurs DeMar DeRozan dropped nine dimes in the game.
  • Harrison Barnes – who also scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds – distributed 5 assists.

Think about it

  • The Kings starters scored 69 points while their second unit added 35 points.
  • The Spurs starting five scored 52 points and their bench put 53 points. That’s called depth.

Up next

The Kings will have Saturday off and will play the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday.

The Spurs go on vacation as they are off until next Thursday when they will host Cleveland.

Kings win on the road, beat the Wizards 113-106

wiz 112419
Graphic: @SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings (7-8) jumped back into the win column on Sunday afternoon by defeating the Washington Wizards 113-106 in game two of their four-game road trip. The victory did not come easy, but the Kings never let their concentration wavier which allowed them to win the game.

Sacramento outscored Washington (5-9) in three of the four quarters. They also avoided the dreaded “third quarter letdown”. The Kings outscored the Wizards 33-30 in the third quarter, and then, they outscored the Wizards 33-28 in the fourth quarter. That is another major step forward for the Kings.

Kings starters carried the day

The Sacramento starting five scored 79 of the teams 113 total points. Harrison Barnes scored a game-high 26 points. Richaun Holmes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Buddy Hield put 18 points in the book. He shot 4-for-14 from the field with 3 of his field goals coming from behind the 3-point line. Hield drove the lane very hard and went to the foul line seven times and was successful on all seven attempts. He also dished out five assists.

Cory Joseph had a big game for the Kings scoring 10 points and distributing five dimes. Joseph hit 5 of 10 shots from the floor.

All of the Kings starters expect Bjelica played well over 30 minutes in the game.

Sacramento bench

The key man off the bench was Bogdan Bogdanovic. “Bogi” scored 21 points shooting 7-for-16 from the floor while hitting 3 of 9 attempts from 3-point land. He also went 4-for-6 from the free throw line while dishing out four assists.

Focus on the Wizards

  • Bradley Beal scored a team-high 20 points while distributing eight assists. Beal has been averaging 29.6 points per game this season.
  • Thomas Bryant put up 14 points and added eight rebounds
  • Former King – Isaiah Thomas – scored 17 points against his old team.
  • Mo Wagner recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
  • The Wizards bench outscored the Kings bench 48-37.

Addition to the Kings roster

After having several outstanding games in the G-League with the Stockton Kings, Kyle Guy has been called up to join the Kings NBA roster. He joined the team in Washington but did not play.

Up next

The Kings have the unenviable task of playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road in Boston on Monday night.

The Wizards will travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Kings come up two points short, lose to the Lakers 99-97

LAK 2
Graphic: @NBCS

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings trailed the LA Lakers 99-97 with 5.5 seconds to go in the game on Friday night at Staples Center. After designing a play during a timeout, most of the crowd expected the ball to go to Bogdan Bogdanovic in order for “Bogi” to attempt a game-winning 3-point shot. Instead, the inbounds pass went to Harrison Barnes who slipped or was tripped on his way to the bucket.

Barnes went up in the air and was met head-on by Anthony Davis who blocked his potential layup. There was a lot of body contact, but because Barnes was out of control from the slip (or trip) no foul was called. Time expired and the Kings (4-7) had lost the game by two points.

I am now going to interject an editorial opinion. If the play had been the other way around with Davis driving on the hoop, slipping and Barnes making contact, a foul would have been called and Davis would have gone to the line to shoot two free throws. That is the inequity of officiating in the NBA. If you are a superstar and playing on your home court, the calls will always go your way. It is a major flaw that needs to be fixed but don’t hold your breath. No changes are coming anytime soon.

Spotlight on the Lakers (10-2)

  • LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points and made it a double-double game by dishing out 11 assists. He also played a game-high 38 minutes and 40 seconds. Not bad for an old guy.
  • Anthony Davis added 17 points and blocked four shots. His most important blocked shot came at the end of the game.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points in just over 24 minutes of playing time. He went 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
  • Kyle Kuzma came off the bench to put up 13 points and hauling in five rebounds.
  • The Lakers outscored the Kings in the paint 42-36.
  • LA also won the battle of 2nd Chance Points 15-5.

Focus on the Kings

  • Buddy Hield led the Kings scoring attack with 21 points. Hield shot 6-for-15 from the floor. All six of his baskets were 3-pointers.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic played almost 37 minutes on Friday night. He scored 18 points shooting 7-for-13 from the floor.
  • Richaun Holmes had a big game on offense and defense. Holmes scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Lakers.

Up Next

The Kings will host the Boston Celtics at the Golden 1 Center on Sunday at 12:30 PM.

The Lakers host the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Kings down the Knicks 113-92 in the Garden

NYC Fox
Fox to the bucket Photo: @SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings took the opportunity to build off their first win on Friday night to put victory number two in the book by crushing the New York Knicks 113-92 on Sunday night in the Garden. Teams traveling to the East Coast from the West can sometimes suffer from fatigue and time disorientation in their first game of a road trip. That did not happen on Sunday night.

Fast start in Manhattan
The lead changed hands three times in the first quarter of the game. The third lead change came with 7:51 to go in the period. The Kings took a 10-9 lead off a Harrison Barnes finger-roll layup. Sacramento would never trail again in the game.

The Kings shot 52.2% from the floor in the first quarter and put in 5 of 12 attempts from behind the 3-point arc. When the buzzer sounded after the first 12-minutes were over, Sacramento held a 32-23 lead over the home team.

No let-up in the 2nd quarter
The Kings kept the pressure on the Knicks in the second period by continuing to shoot well and by playing tenacious defense. Sacramento made good on 11 of their 19 Field Goal Attempts (57.9%), hit 3 of 6 (50.0%) from downtown and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

The Kings defense held the Knicks to just 28.6% (6-for-21) shooting and limited New York to just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

The Kings held a 61-41 lead at the half.

What would happen in the third quarter?
The Kings had not outscored an opponent in the third quarter of any of their previous six games. That had led to their demise in every contest except on Friday night versus Utah.

That all changed on Sunday night in NYC. The Kings outscored the Knicks 29-23 and broke the third quarter curse that seemed like it would never go away.

Again, it was a combination of good shooting and a strong defense that did the in the job for the Kings. One example of the defense is the fact New York went 0-for-7 from “downtown” in the period. Sacramento was up 90-64 after 36 minutes of play.

The Knicks didn’t roll over and play dead
Every player in the NBA is a proud professional. They all want to win and every one of them hates to lose. The Knicks tried to make the game competitive in the last period.

Kings head coach Luke Walton had to leave his starters in for over half the quarter because the pesky Knicks would not go away. It was a tremendous “chase-down” block that ended the New York comeback run.

The Kings won their second game of the season 113-92. Sacramento is 2-5 while New York drops to 1-6 on the young campaign.

Postgame thoughts
Kings head coach Luke Walton had a number of thoughts after the win:

  • Walton said he told his team this game would set the tone for the road trip.
  • He said the key to the victory was the reduced number of turnovers and competition for rebounds. The Kings turned the ball over just 13 times and outrebounded New York 49-39.
  • Walton was happy that his team won the 3rd quarter but emphasized the team did not talk about the problem during halftime of the last two games – both victories.
  • He also mentioned a sitdown that he and De’Aaron Fox had on the plane just to review video clips and plays. Fox scored a team-high 24 points and dished out six assists in the win. That was some productive coach-player time.
  • When asked by a New York reporter about the playoffs, Walton replied that he’s not worried about the playoffs. He said he is interested in getting better every day.

Top performances

  • All of the Kings starting five scored in double figures.
  • Richaun Holmes had another double-double game scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds (four off the offensive glass).
  • Buddy Hield found the bucket again. He put 22 points in the book shooting 8-for-16 overall and hitting 5 of 11 from long range.
  • Harrison Barnes enjoyed his night in the Garden putting up 19 points.
  • Nemanja Bjelica recorded 10 points, made eight rebounds and distributed six assists in his 24-minutes on the floor.
  • The Knicks were led by Marcus Morris Sr. with a game-high 28 points and rookie RJ Barrett who added 22 points in 40-plus minutes of playing time.

Up next
The Kings head up “North” to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. The Raptors will be much tougher competition, but the Kings have won in Exposition City before.

The Knicks will also return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to Detroit.