The Sacramento Kings played until late Thursday night, but on Friday they gave the Portland Trail Blazers everything they could handle.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe. Meyers Leonard had a solid night, and rookie Jake Layman made his first appearance in the Blazers’ rotation.
Good start for Portland! The Blazers opened the game on a 25-13 run. Portland had their way with the Kings, easily stopping their offense and converting it into points of their own. Of course, halfway into the quarter, “old friends” Meyers Leonard and DeMarcus Cousins continued their chippiness with another round of shoving.
With Al-Farouq Aminu’s absence, Coach Terry Stotts brought a surprise to the rotation: rookie Jake Layman, who has wow’d crowds in garbage time. And it didn’t take long for Leonard to make his presence known at the offensive end, either. Despite all this, the tired Kings hung tough, only trailing by a few points after the first quarter.
Portland Trail Blazers 35, Sacramento Kings 31
Jake Layman swished a three pointer early in the second quarter, bringing the crowd to their feet. The Blazers spent most of the quarter building a double-digit lead, then batting back each Kings challenge. Sacramento made one last charge down the stretch, cutting the lead down to five to close out the half.
Portland Trail Blazers 62, Sacramento Kings 57
Highlights from the first half of this basketball game. pic.twitter.com/d2ZRlLqYSL— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 12, 2016
The third quarter opened with the “Traditional Blazers lull”, as Sacramento stormed back to take the lead. Portland eventually got on track, hitting a few three-pointers to keep things close. Neither team seemed interested in playing defense though, beyond some cursory blocked shots. The Blazers pushed their lead as large as 5, but the Kings took advantage of lax defense to close the gap each time. Nothing was settled after three.
Portland Trail Blazers 84, Sacramento Kings 83
⚪️ Dame deciding not to score— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 12, 2016
Dame deciding to score pic.twitter.com/t2a5DXuW6P
The wheels flew off early in the fourth quarter. The Kings opened up a quick six-point lead, and the Blazers’ shots were all rimming out. Coach Terry Stotts called timeout, but it didn’t help. Soon, two Cousins free throws pushed the lead to seven halfway into the quarter. That’s when the Blazers came alive. Moe Harkless nailed a three-pointer, followed by a steal, and a contested three-pointer from Lillard. Swish. Sacramento called timeout, up by 1. It didn’t help them, either.
First, Crabbe’s long jumper finally put Portland ahead with five minutes left. After another steal, Lillard lauched another three. Splat. Then another steal, and a Plumlee layup. That completed a 13-0 Blazers run to turn a 7-point deficit into a 5-point lead with 3:30 left. The teams traded buckets for the next two minutes, and Portland looked ready to put the game away. But with 30 seconds left, it all went wrong. Cousins swished a three-pointer, and then Harkless took an ill-advised drive to the hoop when the team could have held the ball. He missed, and Cousins promptly tied the game with 7 seconds left. Lillard had a chance for the win, bit badly missed a long isolation three-pointer. The teams headed to overtime.
End of Regulation: Portland Trail Blazers 106, Sacramento Kings 106
Cousins single-handedly gets Kings back in it https://t.co/zrm2pzUnQF— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) November 12, 2016
The teams again swapped buckets to start overtime. Through the first three minutes, the Blazers gained no more than a two-point advantage. The clearly-tired Kings made one last push to steal a win in Portland. Cousins hit a three-pointer to take a one-point lead with two minutes left. But Lillard restored a lead ten seconds later. Ten more seconds later, Cousins tore down the middle for a dunk. McCollum’s three-pointer put Portland ahead by two again, and the Kings called timeout with 1:23 left.
Out of the timeout, Rudy Gay converted a three-point play to pull Sacramento back up by 1 with one minute left. On a broken play, McCollum stepped back for a mid-range jumper to give the Blazers the lead again. But as Lillard and Darren Collison ran for a loose ball, Lillard slid, Collison fell and Lillard was rung up for a foul. The crowd let the referees know their dissatisfaction.
The Blazers went to Leonard inside for the lead, and he was fouled. He sunk both free throws, and Portland was ahead by 1 with 30 seconds left. Rudy Gay finally missed a clutch shot, and Crabbe went to the line. He missed the first, but made the second. With 14 seconds left, the Kings had the ball with a chance to tie or win. They went to Gay again, with a turnaround jumper. It missed, and the Blazers escaped with a hard-fought win.
A date with the Denver Nuggets Sunday night at Moda. But stay tuned tonight, as the old-school Blazer’s Edge recap duo will conclude with analysis from Dave Deckard later.