The only thing worse than this loss to start the new year would’ve been a blowout, but a loss is a loss. Two straight games the Sacramento Kings have struggled to close out games and it has cost them a possible record of 21-16, but instead they are 19-18 with games against the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors upcoming. The Kings made it interesting with their second half surge, but again, they just can’t get the late game situations down like they were in the beginning of the season.
Both teams opened the first quarter not shooting the ball very well, but that was also in large part to good defense by both sides. The Blazers were 8-22 to start (36%) while the Kings were a little better with a line of 10-23 (43.5%). Buddy Hield was the primary source of offense for the Kings, as he was drilling three after three for a 13-point first quarter on 5-7 shooting. Iman Shumpert and Bogdan Bogdanovic were both struggling from the field (1-4 shooting and 0-3). For the Blazers, Moe Harkless and Damian Lillard each had seven points. Lillard was 5-5 from the free throw line. The quarter ended with Portland up 26-25.
Now only one team played good defense in this quarter and it was Portland, while they also scored 38 points on the Kings and led 64-50 at the half. Seth Curry was giving the Blazers some big minutes off the bench, scoring 15 points on 5-7 shooting and also stole the ball three times. On one play, he caught Bogdanovic sleeping and scored a transition layup. For the Kings, Hield was the only player with double-digit points (19). Bogdanovic was 0-5, Willie Cauley-Stein was 0-3 and De’Aaron Fox was 2-8. Portland also forced 10 Sacramento turnovers by halftime.
The Kings held the Blazers to just 19 points in the third and scored 27 of their own. The Kings trailed 83-77 to end the quarter. They got off to a good start with Hield making more shots and the Kings eventually went on a 12-4 run to start. Cauley-Stein and Bogdanovic got their first points in the game while Fox took his point total up to 11. Fox only had one assist to this point. Harry Giles was the biggest story, coming up with five rebounds and four points in eight minutes. Curry had 18 for Portland.
Sacramento opened the fourth quarter on fire. Bogdanovic was making shot after shot after starting 0-9 from the field. Giles was making plays on both ends of the floor. Yogi Ferrell was utilizing his speed to the finest. Sacramento eventually gained a 101-92 lead, but failed to close it out and the Blazers made it a 103-103 game and we headed to overtime.
The Kings couldn’t make anything in overtime as the Blazers outscored them 10-5 to win it 113-108. Kings drop to 19-18.
Buddy Hield kept the Kings in the game in the first half but was more quiet in the second. He finished with 27 points on 11-23 shooting with five rebounds and four assists. The missed layup down 112-108 stung.
Bogdan Bogdanovic gave the Kings a chance with his fourth quarter performance, but became cold when it mattered. He finished with 19 points off the bench on 7-19 shooting, 3-11 from three with five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Nemanja Bjelica had a big game on the boards with 16 and had 14 points on 4-12 shooting. He was cold from three, going 1-5.
Willie Money Watch
A lot of words can describe Willie’s performance today. Jusef Nurkic absolutely dominated him on both ends and just look at the stat sheet itself. It doesn’t always tell you the whole story but it gives a good one for this case. Willie was 2-14 from the floor for five points and 11 rebounds. It didn’t feel like he grabbed 11 rebounds, however.
Yogi Ferrell scored eight points on 4-4 shooting. Harry Giles had six points, seven rebounds, one steal and one block in 13 minutes. Also, NO FOULS! They each gave huge minutes and a big spark but never saw the floor after they left in the fourth.
Sacramento was 44-115 from the floor.
Sacramento was out-rebounded 56-53, but had more assists (26-24).
Portland had 10 blocks, Nurkic had five of them. Portland also had 19 turnovers.
The Kings had 30 fastbreak points to 10 for Portland.
The Kings host the Denver Nuggets this Thursday at 7:00 PM PST.