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Preseason Finale: Kings fall 118-115 to Portland

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Sacramento rebounded nicely after a rough night in Utah

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings wrapped up their preseason campaign last night, and although they didn’t walk away with a win, the team fought much harder than they did in their disastrous performance against the Jazz Thursday night. The game was a back and forth affair, with both teams swapping the lead in the fourth quarter, but the young Kings couldn’t quite close the gap late in the game.

Dave Joerger and De’Aaron Fox both sat out with a stomach bug, but the coaching staff continued to run with a two point guard starting lineup, featuring Frank Mason, Yogi Ferrell, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, and Willie Cauley-Stein. The first five played a much more complete game than they did in Utah, combining for 81 of the Kings’ 115 points, outscoring Portland’s starters by 18.

Sacramento did a great job stopping the human flamethrower that is Damian Lillard, holding him to just 7 points on 10 shots, but struggled to contain C.J. McCollum who went off for 21 points, 9 boards, and 6 assists. DeMarcus Cousins’ number-one enemy, Meyers Leonard, hurt the Kings late in the game, recording 17 points and 9 boards, as well as knocking down three of four from deep and tipping in a key, late shot. Zach Collins, the Portland side of the Giles/Jackson trade, played a nice game. The developing big scored 15 points and snagged 10 boards in 31 minutes.

Several Kings recovered nicely from their embarrassment in Utah. Buddy Hield scored 19 points on 11 field goals, and more impressively, took 10 free throw attempts. Last season, he took a maximum of 4 in a game, while in his rookie season he attempted 5. If Hield can continue to attack the rim and draw fouls, the Kings offense will open up much more often. Yogi Ferrell continued to look like the steal of the summer, putting up 19 points and 5 assists, while Frank Mason managed to score 14 and dish out 8 dimes. The rookies accounted for one impressive performance and one rough shooting night. Marvin Bagley ended the evening with 15 points and 6 boards, and the second overall pick continued to look more comfortable on an NBA floor. He also hit 7 out of 11 field goal attempts, good for his most accurate shooting game of the preseason and showed off that legendary second jump as well:

Meanwhile, Harry Giles struggled from the field, shooting just 2 of 10, and while tired legs may very well have been in play for the dynamic big man, his passing continued to impress:

The biggest concern heading into the regular season continues to be the small forward position. Buddy Hield filled in nicely last night, but the Kings will continue to give up bushels of baskets until that spot is settled with a full-time wing. Justin Jackson was once again unimpressive, Nemanja Bjelica looks much more comfortable as a power forward, and Wenyen Gabriel didn’t see any playing time. Get better Bogi!