The Portland Trail Blazers' learned Friday night that when their three leading scorers from a year ago go cold, winning games will be a tough proposition, especially on the road.
The Blazers shot just 6-of-23 in the final period, including 1-for-12 from two-point range in a 103-94 loss on the road against the Sacramento Kings.
Portland kept the game close in the first despite some early cold shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge missed four straight shots at one point before heating up near the end of the period. The Blazers defense was unable to stop Kings forward Rudy Gay, who shot a perfect 5-for-5 in the period.
The second quarter was an ugly mess for both sides. The Kings were able to enforce their will on the offensive glass, but their shooting went dead. One particularly ugly possession saw the Kings get the rebound off a missed foul shot by Gay, snare four offensive rebounds, yet fail to hit every shot. Meanwhile, Portland struggled shooting the ball, with Chris Kaman and Wesley Matthews providing the scoring moments.
The teams traded runs in the third quarter, with the Kings seizing an 11 point advantage only for the Blazers to tie the game back up. While Robin Lopez and Kaman had strong quarters, the team was unable to put pressure on Gay who shot 5-for-5 yet again. Gay would finish the game with 40 points on 13-of-19 shooting.
The Blazers started the fourth with momentum, but a questionable open-path foul on Nicolas Batum resulted in a 5 point play, all by Gay. The Kings turned that into a 13-0 run, with Portland unable to hit any shots and the Kings able to shoot at will. A late rally by the Blazers fell short.
Aldridge led the Blazers with 22 on 7-of-18 shooting. Damian Lillard had 20, but it came on 4-of-13 shooting. Kaman was strong off the bench again with 12. The Blazers will need to recover going into their next game, especially on the defensive glass, if they want to keep pace in the Western Conference.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
The Blazers decided to be the Lakers for Halloween.
Let's remember this is only the 2nd game of the season. Last year we were blown out by Phoenix and we finished the season pretty darn well.
We had our chances, but poor focus and poor play did us in. We can learn from it! Long season, and I hope this wakes us up that we can’t just magically turn it on and win whenever we want.
ForwardCenter.net has interviews with LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, and coach Terry Stotts. These include:
"I give their defense credit. They were physical with us. They contested shots. I thought we had some shots that we could make that we didn't. It's rarely one thing. It's a combination of things."
"They just out-hustled us in a lot of areas. We knew that they were a really good second chance team and we allowed them to do that all night. They just outplayed us."
Terry Stotts said that when the refs review a play, they get it right. Said that was the case on the clear-path call in the fourth.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) November 1, 2014
LaMarcus mentioned the ball stuck tonight. #Blazers had 20 asts, but if that's the case, could've had more— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 1, 2014
The tone in the locker room was the #Blazers got out-hustled from start to finish. 1 #Kings player told me they weren't physical enough— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) November 1, 2014