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Kings 107, Blazers 115: Taking care of business

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The Kings hold out half their bench and it pays off

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The tank rolls on! The Sacramento Kings went into tonight basically without their entire bench, with Darren Collison, Omri Casspi, and Kosta Koufos getting the night off alongside starter Rudy Gay. Still, the team gamely played the Blazers tough the entire game, with three big performances and a smattering of assistance from others.

DeMarcus Cousins was a monster with 30 points on an efficient night from the field. Mason Plumlee just can't guard him. Even when Boogie went iso, there was little Plumlee could do to stop him. Cousins did still have a woeful night protecting the ball, but not all of them were playmaking turnovers. Rajon Rondo morphed into Chris Paul for a night, aggressively looking to score with 27 points while still notching 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the triple dub (with only 2 turnovers to boot!). Rondo is always better when he's aggressively looking to score instead of pounding the ball hunting for assists. Seth Curry turned out to be third musketeer on the night, continuing his impressive run to end the season with another 17 point outing, including 4 assists and only 1 turnover.

The Blazers won this game on the boards. They grabbed 19 offensive rebounds on the night, outrebounding the Kings overall 49-34. The Blazers also took advantage of the Kings' 19 turnovers by running 24 points off those miscues. And the Blazers outscored the decimated Kings' bench 25-17.

The Kings played good defense against the Blazers' helfcourt game, holding Portland to 43% overall shooting. But they kept getting mixed up on switches, leaving too many open Blazers for three. CJ McCollum also looked generally unstoppable; the Kings simply didn't have the perimeter defenders necessary to slow down his clever game off the dribble.

There are now four games left in the season, and two left at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings next play against the Timberwolves on Thursday, who are fresh off beating the Warriors at Oracle.

Random Observations

  • Cousins picked up another completely unnecessary technical foul today, this time shoving Gerald Henderson out of his way on his way to the Kings bench on a timeout. Henderson was just standing there in front of his team's bench when they bumped eachother, but Boogie was already in the middle of his irate moods and lashed out. One more technical and he's suspended again.
  • I was really impressed with Cauley-Stein's perimeter defense today. It looked like somebody finally got to him about improving his form. Willie was consciously getting into a defensive stance, with choppy feet, active hands, ready to slide laterally with the offensive player.
  • Ben McLemore has so many problems, from his bad hands, bad ballhandling, and poor coordination. Another on display today was his tendency to space out of plays, letting rebounds go when the ball bounces right in front of him, getting the ball poked out of his hands. Seth is the exact opposite, he reacts instantly to what is going on around him and always seems engaged.
  • It wouldn't be a 2015-2016 Kings game without something bizarre happening. Tonight, it was Quincy Acy pointing to something on the court at the exact moment that the Blazers inbounded the ball in the direction of his finger. Even after seeing the replay, the refs called the technical on a horrified Eric Moreland, who probably can't afford the fine that comes with a technical with his minimum salary. Thankfully for him, the refs corrected the offense.
  • Speaking of Moreland, he got his first minutes of the season tonight and I liked what I saw. He's very active around the rim; he's like Quincy Acy without energy but with actual rebounding talent. He also had a nice interior pass to Boogie on offense, but Boogie couldn't convert. Have to wonder what the future holds for him.

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