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Damian Lillard bests Fourth Quarter Fox in first half finale

The Kings ended the first half of their season on a high note, but not on a win.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

De’Aaron Fox has been tremendous in the fourth quarter this season, but Damian Lillard showed why crunch time is still Dame Time on Thursday night. In what was the final game of the first half of their regular season schedule, the Sacramento Kings narrowly lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 123-119.

The Kings were able to build on their performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, scoring 119 points on 47.6% shooting from the field and 37.9% shooting from behind the arc. Every player on the team scored at least 10 points except for DaQuan Jeffries.

Fox led the way for the Kings with 32 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds, but Buddy Hield was the story of the night for Sacramento once again. For the third time in three games, Hield scored more than 20 points, tallying 21 points on 8-17 shooting from the field and 5-12 shooting from behind the 3-point line against the Trail Blazers.

Unfortunately, another appearance from Buddy Buckets wasn’t enough to strike fear in Damian Lillard, who scored 44 points on 50% shooting from the field. He’s been ridiculous this season, and the Kings were just the latest casualty of the tear he’s been on.

The Kings will go into the second half of the season as the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference with a record of 14-22. They have plenty of time to turn things around in the second half of the season, but there are currently 3.5 games separating them from the No. 10 seed Memphis Grizzlies. In other words, there’s a lot of work to be done.

The Kings will have a week off before resuming their season on March 11 against the Houston Rockets.