Rise Of The Black Falcon: Barnes’ Career-Night Paces Kings To Opening Night Win
Harrison Barnes scored a career-high 36 points in a nail-biting Kings win over the Portland Trail Blazers
Even when the Sacramento Kings held an 18-point lead during Wednesday night’s season opener, it never seemed as if the game was out of reach for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers did everything that they could to erase the large deficit and steal a win from Sacramento, but Harrison Barnes, De’Aaron Fox and the Kings would hang on for an exciting 124-121 win to open up the 2021-22 regular season at the Moda Center.
De’Aaron Fox showcased his offensive prowess early, scoring 10 points in the first to help pace Sacramento to a 24-23 advantage heading into the second quarter. Fox also had a highlight block on All-Star Blazers guard Damian Lillard’s lay-in attempt in the first in what was a solid defensive showing from Sacramento over the first 12 minutes of action.
After a back-and-forth first period, the Kings would outscore Portland 38-26 in the second behind the efforts of Richaun Holmes (12 points, eight rebounds in the first half) and Buddy Hield (nine first half points) to take a 62-49 lead into the halftime break.
Harrison Barnes knocked down back-to-back triples to open up the second half and help stretch Sacramento’s lead to 72-55 with 8:52 remaining in the third. Barnes caught absolute fire in the third, scoring 18 points (six-of-six from three-point range in the quarter).
Barnes and the Kings withstood a late run from Portland to take a 100-85 lead into the fourth quarter.
In 2020-21 Sacramento Kings fashion, a once large lead would quickly disappear as Portland cut the deficit to just 111-104 with seven minutes remaining.
After leading by as many as 18 points, the Kings lead would be reduced to 117-114 with less than two minutes remaining before Barnes knocked down his career-high eighth three-point field goal to make it 120-114 with one minute remaining.
Portland did everything it could to apply pressure late, but Buddy Hield knocked down two free throws with 19.6 seconds left to put Sacramento up 122-117 and put the game out of…
Well, almost out of reach.
After Damian Lillard scored a bucket to cut the deficit to 122-119, CJ McCollum forced Tyrese Haliburton to turn the ball over underneath Portland’s basket, leading to an easy lay-in by McCollum to cut the Kings lead to just one point.
With the game on the line, who else but Harrison Barnes would come to the free-throw stripe to sink two free throws and give Sacramento a nail-biting win over the Trail Blazers.
Although the ending was not pretty, the Kings buckled down and won a game that, to be frank, they most likely would not have won last season. Experience played a role in this one, as Barnes, Richaun Holmes, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield paved the way for a successful season opener and a happy flight back to Sacramento.
Rounding out the box score
October 20, 2021 will be known as ‘The Harrison Barnes Game’.
Barnes was unconscious from deep, drilling a career-high eight three-pointers (eight-of-11 for the game) and finishing the night 10-of-19 from the field to establish a new career-high of 36 points over 37 minutes.
The nine-year veteran pulled down nine rebounds and swiped two steals in the win, putting on his greatest performance in his three seasons as a member of the Kings.
De’Aaron Fox looked like…well, De’Aaron Fox.
Fox finished with 27 points (nine-for-22 from the field) five rebounds and eight assists over 36 minutes in the win.
Richaun Holmes didn’t waste much time picking up his first double-double of the season, scoring 21 points on nine-of-10 from the field to go along with 11 rebounds and two blocks over 29 minutes of action.
In his new role as a scoring option off the bench, Buddy Hield had a very impressive–and historic–night from three-point range. Hield tied Peja Stojakovic on Sacramento’s all-time three-point field goals list with his 1,070th long-ball as a member of the organization.
Hield finished with 17 points on four-of-seven shooting from beyond the arc to go along with six rebounds and two assists in the win.
With the news surrounding Marvin Bagley III’s omission from Luke Walton’s rotation making headlines across the league on Wednesday, Walton was quick to squash any inquiries regarding the situation during his pregame media session.
“I’m not getting into any of that,” Walton said when asked about Bagley. “We’re focused on playing Portland, and that’s it…We have a tight group. We don’t concern ourselves with outside issues…We’re in a good place.”
Fans will file into Golden 1 Center on Friday night for Sacramento’s home-opening matchup against last year’s number-one team in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz.
Utah swept the season series against the Kings in 2020-21, winning three games by an average margin of 29 points.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Jazz coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage beginning at 3:00pm PST on The Jason Ross Show prior to a 7:00pm PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings schedule
- October 22nd vs Utah Jazz (Home opener)
- October 24th vs Golden State Warriors
- October 27th @ Phoenix Suns
- October 29th @ New Orleans Pelicans
- October 31st @ Dallas Mavericks