Lillard-less Blazers Hand Kings Fourth-Straight Loss
Sacramento will return home for a five-game home-stand beginning Monday night
The nightmare continues for the Sacramento Kings.
Even though the Portland Trail Blazers were without Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Larry Nance Jr., they had all the help that they needed on Sunday night as the Kings couldn’t buy a bucket during a 103-88 loss at Moda Center.
The Kings scored a season-low 88 points on an abysmal 38-percent shooting from the field and 22-percent from beyond the three-point line.
With the loss, Sacramento (16-26) has lost four-straight games and five of their last six as the losses continue to snowball.
The Sacramento offense looked stagnant in the first quarter as Tyrese Haliburton’s seven points would be the lone bright spot for a Kings team that shot 37-percent from the field and 14-percent from beyond the arc over the first 12 minutes of action.
Old friend Ben McLemore knocked down two triples in the first to help lead Portland to a 27-21 advantage heading into the second period.
The shooting woes would continue for the Kings as they started off Sunday’s contest a sickening one-of-thirteen from three-point range. Besides Tyrese Haliburton’s strong start (10 points and five assists), Sacramento just couldn’t find the bottom of the net in the first half as Portland took a 53-40 lead into the halftime break.
If you were expecting some second half adjustments from the Kings, you wouldn’t get your wish in this one as the Kings fell flat on their faces during a brutal third quarter.
Portland stretched its lead to 82-67 heading into the fourth quarter as the Sacramento offense–and defense, as always–couldn’t find itself as the Trail Blazers completely picked apart the Kings in every aspect to put the game out of reach.
Or so it seemed. Sacramento mounted a 7-0 run to cut Portland’s lead to 90-77 with less than six minutes to go in the fourth quarter
While the game was all but over before the fourth quarter even started, to me, it was over once the game clock struck 11:59 in the first quarter. The Kings never had a chance from the get.
Look, I understand that every player on an NBA roster is capable of making a difference on any given night.
Whether you are making a max-money, the league minimum or you’re on a 10-day contract, you lace up your sneakers and wear the same jersey as the rest of your teammates.
Portland was missing a lot of firepower against Sacramento on Sunday. So was Philadelphia when they faced the Kings earlier this season. So was Charlotte. So was Dallas. So was Memphis.
Sacramento has lost countless games this season against teams that are missing not one, not two, not even three key players, but in some cases, five or more. Sunday night in Portland, the Blazers were missing an MVP-caliber in Damian Lillard, an All-Star-type talent in CJ McCollum, a very good rotation piece in Norman Powell and solid depth in Larry Nance Jr.
The Kings looked completely dysfunctional from the moment the ball became live after tip-off.
The same things will continue to be said about this team until changes are made. Defense must improve. Rotations must improve. Consistency must improve. The quality of talent on the roster must improve.
Until that happens, the same old story will continue to be played again, again and again in front of us like a horror film. That has been the 2021-22 Sacramento Kings season, thus far. A horror film with no ending in sight.
Following a three-game absence, forward Chimezie Metu cleared COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols on Sunday. Metu was listed as questionable on Sacramento’s injury report prior to Kings head coach Alvin Gentry declaring the young forward as an available participant during his pregame media session.
De’Aaron Fox (right shoulder soreness) was listed as questionable leading into Sunday night’s game before being ruled active shortly before the Kings took the floor for pregame warmups.
Like Fox, forward Maurice Harkless (ankle soreness) was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report prior to tip-off. The 28-year-old was ruled out prior to tip-off and is considered day-to-day.
Damian Jones entered COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols on Sunday, joining fellow center Richaun Holmes in the league’s protocols. Both players can return to return to action after registering successive negative COVID-19 tests that are conducted 24 hours apart.
It will be another quick turnaround for the Kings as they will return home on Monday night to complete the road-home back-to-back against the dangerous Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers got the best of Sacramento back on December 11th during a 117-103 rout at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
Be sure to get all of your all of your Kings vs Cavs coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 5:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 7:00pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- January 10th vs Cleveland Cavaliers
- January 12th vs Los Angeles Lakers
- January 14th vs Houston Rockets
- January 16th vs Houston Rockets
- January 19th vs Detroit Pistons