Kings 86, Blazers 103: Depleted Kings Get Shellacked by Damian Lillard and his Hot Shooting Compadres

Kyle Terada - US PRESSWIRE

Disappointment.

It's the perfect word to describe the Kings season so far, encapsulated by this game. A Trail Blazers team on the second night of a back-to-back, comes into Sacramento and absolutely destroys the Kings in the second half. Yes, the Kings were missing two starters, and then even the replacement for one of those starters. But there isn't any excuse for the way the Kings simply blew the game in the second half. Beginning in the 3rd quarter and stretching into the 4th, the Kings gave up a 32-6 run to Portland that they never recovered from. This is after the Kings had already come back from a 15 point second quarter deficit to take a 4 point lead in the third quarter.

From PopcornMachine.net, here's the GameFlow to illustrate just when this game went from competitive to embarrassing (may need to click to enlarge):

Portland_sacramento_medium

The Blazers did most of their damage from outside, where they hit a ridiculous 14 of their 27 three pointers (51.9%). The Kings meanwhile only shot 1 for 11 from outside, with the only made three coming from John Salmons after the game was essentially decided. Rookie Damian Lillard was responsible for 5 of those Blazers threes, and Nicolas Batum, Ronnie Price, Wesley Matthews and Sasha Pavlovic each added two. Sacramento was able to control the paint, but with Portland shooting like they were, it didn't matter.

The Kings were again without DeMarcus Cousins, and his absence was noticeably felt on both the glass and as a go-to offensive option. The Blazers outrebounded the Kings 44 to 33 with former King J.J. Hickson leading the way with 13. Sacramento was also without starting PG Isaiah Thomas, who flew back home due to the death of his grandmother. Thomas' replacement in the starting lineup, Aaron Brooks, only played the first 7 minutes of the game before hurting his ankle and not returning. Swingman Francisco Garcia also missed the game due to the flu.

If there was a bright spot for the Kings in the game it would have to be the play of Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson and Chuck Hayes. Fredette continued his strong play this season with a 13 point, 6 assist effort in 25 minutes. Fredette was key to spurring the initial 15 point comeback the Kings made. Fredette cooled off significantly in the second half as Portland focused their defense on him.

Thomas Robinson also played well in his first game back from suspension, scoring 12 points on 5-7 from the field. I would have liked to see more than 4 boards though. Chuck Hayes filled the stat sheet with 6 points, 8 boards and 6 assists and played some tough defense on Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge did score 19 points, but most of that was from the line as he was just 5-14 from the field.

James Johnson led the team in scoring with 16 points, which is a terrible sign if you're the Kings. It's good for Johnson to get his confidence back, but bad for Sacramento. This is a game where Tyreke Evans should have really stepped up to the plate to try to take over. Instead Evans took just 8 shots in 30 minutes and had 10 points and 4 assists. I feel he could have done so much more if he put his mind to it. However, the lack of shots for Tyreke could be a design of Keith Smart's offense, to which I say, why not get one of your best players more offensive touches, particularly when players like Thomas and Cousins are missing?

Sacramento's lack of outside shooting was almost as bad as their lack of perimeter defense. As mentioned before, only John Salmons made a three pointer for the team. Marcus Thornton, who scored 14 points, missed all three of his attempts as did Jimmer Fredette. The Kings don't have many shooters to begin with, and with Thomas, Brooks and Garcia out, found it lacking elsewhere. This is indicative of a larger problem aka GET SOMEONE ON THE TEAM THAT ISN'T AN UNDERSIZED GUARD THAT CAN SHOOT.

There isn't much else to take away from this game. It was a disappointing loss and one the Kings will have to quickly recover from. This was the first of 7 of 8 games at home for Sacramento, with the next one coming on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.

Random Observations:

  • National Anthem was entirely instrumental tonight, the first time I've seen that at a game.
  • I believe I saw more dumb inbounds passes tonight than ever before.
  • Luke Babbitt probably deserved a Flagrant-2 for his foul on Jimmer at the end. Talk about unnecessary, with his team up 20 points.
  • Jason Thompson's best performance of the night came on the jumbotron with a game of "Date, Marry or Ditch". There was an R. Kelly reference made to not wanting to date or marry underage girls, as well as wanting to date Sarah Palin because she was into Glen Rice so she'd be into him.
  • I wish Thomas Robinson would just dunk the ball every time.
  • Fan apathy is at an all-time high. Attendance is going to absolutely stink this year. Another under 11,000 showing.
  • Damian Lillard is a beast. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't win Rookie of the Year.
  • Nostradumbass of the Night is between four people: A Night At The Arco (our first repeat winner), rKINGm, OJandKush, and eISAVinator. Congratulations.
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