The Kings were already short with De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III still out, but received more bad news as Bogdan Bogdanovic was ruled out before tipoff due to a knee contusion. The Kings played without Bogi once against the Brooklyn Nets and it turned out sloppy for them because of a lack of offensive firepower. Sacramento had much better offense today, but Portland’s defense wasn’t particularly great. The offense sputtered when it mattered most and the Kings drop another game they could’ve won.
Portland came out firing and didn’t have plans to miss shots. They got plenty of easy baskets through Hassan Whiteside down low and the Kings couldn’t stop him. Sacramento had answers to every Portland basket early, then went on a shooting slump and couldn’t get anything to drop. Richaun Holmes made some bail out plays to get some points as Hield started 1-7 from the field. Portland took a 26-18 lead but Buddy caught fire making a three, fallaway two and an and-1 layup over Anfernee Simons to give the Kings a 28-26 run. Hield made another three followed by a Dewayne Dedmon block and he later made a spot up elbow jumper. The Kings would lead 35-30 after one with Hield’s 14 points on 6-13 shooting leading the way. Holmes added nine on 4-4 shooting and three rebounds. Coincidentally, Whiteside led Portland with nine points on 4-4 shooting.
The second quarter started with Carmelo Anthony being denied at the rim by Dedmon. It then became a scoring battle between Yogi Ferrell and CJ McCollum. Yes, you read that right. McCollum still couldn’t be stopped, but the Kings kept their lead afloat thanks to threes from Trevor Ariza and Dedmon. A Rodney Hood three followed by a Damian Lillard three would give Portland the lead at 53-52. Portland would lead 66-64 to end the half, but not without Holmes slamming a two-handed putback over Whiteside. Hield led the Kings with 17 points on 7-17 shooting and 3-8 from three, followed by Holmes’ 11 points and six rebounds. McCollum scored 23 on 10-13 shooting for the Blazers.
Holmes continued to be automatic with his signature one-handed shot in the paint and it played a big part in the Kings’ offense. However, Portland’s three point shooting was on point, going 5-6 a little over halfway through the quarter. Nemanja Bjelica blocked two three pointers to give the offense some momentum and the Kings led 92-91. Free throws were an issue for the Kings as they trailed 100-95 going into the fourth. Hield’s 23 points still led the Kings, while Holmes put up 21 and 9 and Bjelica added 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and the two blocks mentioned. McCollum now had 29 points on 12-15 shooting.
Two Harrison Barnes free throws gave him his first points of the game in 24 minutes. Yogi came in and provided some baskets, but then had two misses after. Barnes finally made his first basket on a layup with eight minutes remaining in the fourth, then followed up with a layup over Melo after a turnover. Lillard started drilling threes and the Portland lead grew to 116-105 then it went to 119-108. Portland would close the game out and leap over the Kings in the standings.
Richaun Holmes dropped in a career high 28 points on 11-14 shooting, including 6-8 from the charity stripe. He also added 10 rebounds and a steal. Where this team would be without him is a question I don’t want to think about. He continues to play hard on both ends and showed out on offense with easy baskets.
Buddy Hield put up 23 points, but his shot continues to struggle. He went 8-24 overall and 3-12 from three but he clearly would benefit with a healthy Bogi and Fox. He added seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Nemanja Bjelica was all over the court today on both ends. Oddly enough, he didn’t add to his impressive stat line in the fourth quarter but his offense continues to be valuable.
Harrison Barnes didn’t score his first points until the fourth quarter and the Kings really needed him today, especially with the lack of defensive wings on Portland. Barnes finished with eight points on 3-9 shooting in 35 minutes to go with four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
The Kings were 11-34 from three (32.4%) compared to Portland’s 16-32 mark (50%).
Sacramento has been too inconsistent from the free throw line, going 17-23 tonight (73.9%).
Sacramento had one more rebound at 44-43, but Portland had two more assists at 28-26.
Turnovers were limited by the Kings as they finished with 10.