‘Dame Time’ Dooms Kings Late In Final Game Before All-Star Break
Damian Lillard scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to outduel De’Aaron Fox and the Kings
‘Dame Time’ strikes again.
Sacramento held a 108-103 lead with under four minutes remaining before All-Star guard Damian Lillard paced a 12-0 run to give the Portland Trail Blazers enough space needed to withstand a late Kings comeback, winning by a final of 123-119 on Thursday night at Moda Center.
With the loss, the Kings fall to 14-22 as they begin a week-long All-Star break.
De’Aaron Fox notched his 10th double-double of the season on Thursday night, scoring 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to go along with eight rebounds and 12 assists.
The 18-point outburst in the fourth was a career-high fourth quarter mark for the young guard, who has scored 17 points or more in the fourth quarter on three occasions this season.
Fox did all that he could down the stretch for Sacramento, putting on a show in the fourth quarter while also knocking down big shots down the stretch–including a big three-pointer to make it a one-point game with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Lillard and Gary Trent Jr. would convert free-throws down the stretch to put the game away for good, ending the first-half of an eventful 2020-21 regular season on a low-note for the Kings.
Buddy Hield scored 21 points on five-of-12 shooting from downtown, topping the 20-point mark for the third consecutive game.
Harrison Barnes finished with 17 points and five rebounds over 38 minutes, capping off a very impressive start to the season in which the veteran forward is holding career-high’s in field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and assists per game.
Richaun Holmes tallied his 11th double-double of the season against Portland, scoring 12 points on six-of-12 shooting from the field while grabbing 11 rebounds.
Marvin Bagley III scored 14 points to go along with nine rebounds over 32 minutes of action. The 21-year-old has finished in double-figures for 10-straight games.
Nemanja Bjelica added 12 points and nine rebounds off of the bench, while Cory Joseph contributed 11 points to round out a Kings rotation that featured seven players finish with 10 points of more.
Portland was without the services of guard CJ McCollum (foot), center Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) and former Kings forward Harry Giles III (calf) due to injury on Thursday night.
Sacramento could benefit from the week long break, with several players playing through a variety of injuries.
Buddy Hield has been playing through a sprained ankle of almost a week. De’Aaron Fox had his shoulder taped up on Thursday night. Richaun Holmes has taken a few bad steps over the past few days.
The Kings will not play again until next Thursday night (March 11th) and will surely use the downtime to recover and get right for the second half of the season.
Moves on the horizon?
As the NBA Trade Deadline (March 25th) approaches, the rumor mill is beginning to heat up.
Shams Charania of The Athletic shared on Thursday that multiple teams could be interested in forward Harrison Barnes and veteran big Nemanja Bjelica.
Along with Barnes and Bjelica, it’s possible that teams come calling for Buddy Hield, who has seemingly found his shooting stroke after scoring 29-plus points two times over the past three games.
With the Kings not all the way out of the picture for a run at the 10th seed play-in spot, general manager Monte McNair has some interesting decisions to make in the coming weeks.
The All-Star break will run through March 10th before the Kings begin the second-half of the 2020-21 regular season on March 11th against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center.
By the time the All-Star break passes, Sacramento hopes that talented rookie Tyrese Haliburton (calf soreness) and backup center Hassan Whiteside (health & safety protocols) will both be ready to rejoin the active roster once play resumes against the Rockets.
Houston, who dealt superstar James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the season, has been experiencing a very rough stretch of play since dealing away the former MVP.
Since trading Harden, the Rockets have posted a 5-14 record over 19 games.
The Rockets will be looking to snap its current 13-game losing streak when they face a Kings team that they have already beaten twice this season.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 3:00pm PST on The Jason Ross & Doug Christie Show prior to a 7:00pm PST tip-off.