The final score is not indicative of how far apart this game really was. For all intents and purposes, this was yet another blowout loss on the road, as the Kings trailed between 15-20 points for most of the game, thanks to a 19-2 run by Portland over a 6 minute stretch in the 2nd quarter. The Kings never recovered.
Portland was led in scoring by Jamal Crawford, who had 26 points and 5 assists off the bench, but it was the intensity and effort of Gerald Wallace (20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and a block) that carried the Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge was quiet offensively, scoring just 13 points, but he also chipped in 16 rebounds and 5 assists.
For Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins was the only starter who could get anything going offensively. He scored 18 points to go along with 13 boards and a couple assists. DeMarcus is going to be very sore tomorrow, as he was just clobbered repeatedly by Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Craig Smith. He also turned his ankle at one point, but was able to get up and jog it off.
The rest of the Kings starters combined for just 29 points on 10-33 shooting. Donté Greene started in Marcus Thornton's place and only shot 4-13 and could not guard Gerald Wallace at all. John Salmons' shooting struggles aren't over, as he missed all 4 of his shots, and the Blazers did a great job of containing Tyreke Evans, who was just 2-10.
Portland dominated in the effort and hustle areas tonight, stopping quite a few of the Kings fastbreak opportunities with timely blocks or getting back quickly enough to contest and force a miss. They also absolutely killed Sacramento on the glass, outrebounding the Kings 53-36. The Blazers also got 19 offensive rebounds to the Kings 11, a huge number considering Portland shot better than the Kings from the field. That means they had less opportunities for offensive rebounds, yet they managed to grab almost twice as many anyway.
The Kings bench provided some decent play all around. Isaiah Thomas continued to struggled with his shot, going 3-12, but still managed 11 points and a career-high 8 assists in 28 minutes. Francisco Garcia had 12 points on 4-5 shooting, and Jimmer had another good shooting game, scoring 13 points on 5-7 shooting (including 3-4 from three). Hopefully that is just a sign of more to come for Jimmer, at least offensively, as he was just killed on defense by whoever he was guarding.
The Kings had a season-high in assists with 23, with solid passing all-around. Isaiah was phenomenal at finding open guys, particularly right at the basket, and Tyreke also did a solid job of dishing to his teammates (he had 5 assists).
In the end, the Kings can point to that stretch in the 2nd quarter as when things broke down. The Kings were sloppy on both ends of the court during that stretch, missing 7 of 8 field goal attempts (and all 3 of their FTs) and committing three turnovers. The Kings seem to have a bad stretch like this every game, while rarely having huge offensive spurts of their own. They're not good enough or consistent enough on either end to suffer these kind of runs and recover from them. They need to calm down, stop taking long jumpers early in the shot clock, and move the ball around.
The Kings are now 6-12, and 2-9 on the road. Their effort is getting better, but the results aren't. The team returns home Wednesday against Denver, and hopefully can continue to play well there before having to pack their bags and leave again.