The Portland Trail Blazers suffered yet another disappointing defeat on Tuesday night, falling 107-99 to the Sacramento Kings for their fifth loss in the last six contests. In a game that featured a pair of teams decimated by injuries, the Kings were able to claim the victory behind a pivotal third quarter. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way with 25 points, while the Blazers got 27 from Damian Lillard.
CJ McCollum got off to a quick start, going 3-3 from the field for six points in the game’s first three minutes as part of an early 12-0 Blazers run. The Kings got off to a dreadful start offensively, scoring just five points in the game’s first seven minutes and missing their first eight three-point attempts. However, they ended up going on a 12-2 run of their own—buoyed by eight Portland turnovers—and the Blazers led by just three at the break.
Hassan Whiteside, despite hitting a couple of early shots, sat around the six-minute mark after picking up three quick fouls.
The second quarter was pretty uneventful, as neither team was able to get into much of a rhythm. Kent Bazemore, however, was able to make his mark on both ends of the court, attacking the rim and playing his typical aggressive defense, and was a difference maker in the frame. Bogdanovic caught fire late to pull the Kings back in the game, before a couple of McCollum buckets allowed the Blazers to take a 49-46 lead into halftime.
Due to Whiteside’s foul trouble, Moses Brown was called off the bench for his first significant action with the team, registering four minutes in the period and pulling down three rebounds.
Portland came out flat to start the second half, committing a string of sloppy turnovers as the Kings jumped out to a double-digit lead, with Buddy Hield leading the charge on offense. Lillard, despite significant pressure from the Sacramento defense, was able to help chip away at the lead, before the Kings pulled away with an 8-0 run to go up 12. The Blazers trailed by 11 entering the game’s final stanza, and were outscored 35-21 in the frame.
The Blazers’ struggles continued up until the final minutes of the fourth, and despite pulling within five points with 2:51 left in the game, Portland was never able to get over the hump. The Kings were able to hit enough shots down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Too Many Turnovers
The Blazers committed 17 turnovers on the night, a major factor in the disappointing defeat. It slowed down an already struggling offense, as the team was never able to find any kind of rhythm. The Kings were able to take advantage of the Blazers’ miscues, converting them into 18 points on the opposite end.
Anfernee Simons, who has had an excellent season, struggled mightily shooting the ball, going just 2-11 from the field. He wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get his shot going, but it highlighted just how important he is to this offense. Outside of Damian Lillard, Simons has been the only real consistent offensive threat for the team this season. Given the supporting cast’s lack of production, the team can’t afford an off-night from him at this point, which is a lot to ask of a guy playing in just his second season.
McCollum had a solid first half, scoring 15 points, but the success didn’t continue after intermission. 13 of Lillard’s 27 points came from the free throw line. The Kings left the door open, and only shot 44% on the night, but nobody on the Blazers was able to get hot, leading to the defeat.
The Blazers return home to host the defending champion Toronto Raptors tomorrow night.