Sacramento got off to a cold start in the first half, but only trailed by three thanks to a good performance by Bogdan Bogdanovic. The third quarter rolled around and the Kings outscored the Blazers 35-21 to take a double-digit lead going into the final 12 minutes. Of course, Damian Lillard and company made things interesting but a defiant Bogi and his crew sealed the game with big baskets late in the fourth to take a 107-99 win! Onto the Lakers.
The Kings got up to a 5-4 start with Nemanja Bjelica providing two buckets, but everyone else went cold as the Blazers went on a 12-0 run to lead 16-5. Buddy Hield missed two threes horribly and Hield, who was sporting a headband, took it off after the misses. With 4:44 remaining, the Kings were 0-7 from deep until Bjelica drilled a pull up three. Portland turned the ball over with a little over two minutes remaining, yet still led 18-10. The quarter ended much better for the Kings as their shots fell, but they still trailed 24-21 to end the first. Bjelica led the Kings with seven points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added four points, three assists and three steals, but Hield shot 0-5 from deep. The Kings in total shot 2-12 (16.7%) from three. Damian Lillard led his team with eight points while Portland also had eight turnovers.
While the second quarter was a sluggish back and forth affair, Harry Giles was able to make his first appearance, but he quickly racked up two fouls and missed an open layup. Cory Joseph had a few possessions where he dribbled back and forth, then released a fall away shot that missed every time. When Bogi took control of the offense, it usually ended in good results as the Serbian led the Kings in scoring with 15 points while adding four assists and four steals. Bjelica had 12 points and Hield went up to nine, despite going 0-6 from deep. CJ McCollum put up a good half following a bounce back game his last time out, shooting 7-11 for 15 points. Lillard had 12 points on 3-3 shooting, but went 6-7 from the charity stripe. Sacramento shot 6-9 from the stripe as a team, which if they made those three misses, the game would’ve been tied. However, Portland led 49-46 after a sloppy first half from both teams.
Portland kept giving the ball away, Sacramento kept scoring with it and Hield finally saw two threes go in. The Kings took their biggest lead of 60-51, which grew to 75-63. While Bogi started the half on the bench, Sacramento saw Harrison Barnes wake up from a quiet first half. Barnes got to the free throw line with ease on what seemed like every possession and made good IQ plays. Giles made his second appearance and converted a nice mid-range jumper. The Kings outscored Portland 35-21 in the third to take an 81-70 lead going into the fourth. Hield led the Kings with 20 points despite shooting 2-11 from deep, Bogi had 19 points and seven assists, Bjelica had 14 points and nine rebounds and Richaun Holmes chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds on 5-6 shooting.
Yogi Ferrell gave some good minutes early in the fourth as the Kings kept a good lead for the most of the quarter. Bogi made two big time threes to keep the lead intact and Holmes continuously gave effort to win the 50/50 balls. Portland went on a 11-2 run to make the game close at 98-93, but the Kings answered with threes from Bjelica and Cory Joseph, and then a left-handed layup from Barnes to make it 106-97. Sacramento would close it out and move to 4-6!
Bogdan Bogdanovic needed to step up after the De’Aaron Fox injury and he did just that. Bogi controlled the game when the ball was fed to him, scoring 25 points from everywhere on the floor and providing 10 assists to teammates. His four first half steals came in handy, too.
Nemanja Bjelica has been as solid as a rock all season and that continued today with a 19 point, 12 rebound, four assist showing. He made 3-7 threes as well.
Buddy Hield couldn’t hit many good looks tonight, but still came away with 20 points to go with four rebounds and one assist. His defense on McCollum was not great, but here’s to hoping Buddy lights up the Lakers which will be a tough task because of Danny Green.
Richaun Holmes does what he needs to do and does it well. Scores the easy looks and gets in position to win effort battles on both ends. Another solid 11 point, 10 rebound game for Holmes along with two blocks.
Harrison Barnes didn’t have any first half points and minimal impact elsewhere, but the second half switched things up for the forward. Barnes would finish with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Another player doing what is needed and getting paid big money to do it well.
Both teams shot 44.2% from the field. 34-77 for Portland, 38-86 for Sacramento.
Sacramento shot 20-26 from the stripe, good for 76.9%. That needs to go up to 80% on a more consistent basis.
Kings had more rebounds at 46-40 and more assists at 24-15. They also won the fast break battle 17-9.
The Kings will go to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers this Friday at 7:30 p.m. PST. The Lakers will be playing tomorrow against the Golden State Warriors.