Sacramento Kings Bounce Back Big Time, Hand Portland Trail Blazers 86-82 Loss
Sacramento Kings center Kosta Koufos, No. 41, gets off a pass in front of Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, No. 27, at Golden 1 Center. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Nov. 17, 2017.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. –The Sacramento Kings were a tad bit more competitive at Golden 1 Center on Friday after going through a dismal 0-3 road trip that yielded a 46-point trouncing by the Atlanta Hawks two days before.
In the 86-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Kings did what they failed to do against the Hawks. Play defense. The Kings (4-11), who won their third-straight game at home, had 48 hours to absorbed the mess they made in Atlanta.
Now the Trail Blazers can deal with the misery for the next 24 hours. Both teams go back at it on Saturday in Portland. According to Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, his team can’t wait to dance again with the Kings.
“There was no surprise,” Nurkic said following the game. “They lost by (46) last game and we should win this game. At the end of the day, I’m happy we have them tomorrow. We’re gonna show them what we have.”
Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench for 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists to lead the Kings to a must-win after an embarrassing loss. Garrett Temple had 14 points, five rebounds, and one assists while George Hill contributed 14 points, five rebounds, and one steal.
Kings head Dave Joerger coach made sure he reminded the media that his team is “3-3 in the last six games,” he said. But the gratification was more than that news bit.
“We got emotional, bounce back win,” Joerger said. “We got some great performances. There are times that you’re going to get an emotional response. It’s difficult to do throughout the course of the year to say, ‘Can you play that way every night?’ You can try, but with that level of emotion tied into it can be difficult over the course of 82 games.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision footage by T. Ray Harvey. Nov. 17, 2017.
Damian Lillard had 29 points, four assists, and two steals for Portland (8-7). CJ McCollum finished with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. No other player for the Trail Blazers scored double digits and the bench only added 22 points.
Obviously, it was emotional for Portland, too. The Trail Blazers went through 48 minutes without a fastbreak point. At least the Kings made good with five points on runaway opportunities. Portland head coach Terry Stotts sure didn’t deny what his team is not.
“I guess that’s part of our identity,” Stotts said. “We’re not a fastbreak team as much I we try to push it. For whatever reason, those fastbreak points are not there for us.”
The game was tied 60-60 at the end of three quarters. With 2:20 left to play, the Kings had a seven-point gap on the Trail Blazers after Cauley-Stein’s tip layup.
Portland came back to get within three points on a layup by Lillard with 32.6 seconds left to make the score 85-82. But Lillard missed a 3-point try on his next attempt that could have tied the game. Cauley-Stein made 1 of 2 free throws with three seconds left to end all scoring.
“It’s a point of emphasis for us,” said Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox, who had nine points, four assists, one steal, and one blocked shot for the Kings. “We know we are going to have to defend. Especially if we’re struggling scoring. It was just energy today. Damian and CJ did what they do, but we really brought some energy.”
PUBLICITY AGENTS PERSPECTIVE:
“The tyranny of distance didn’t stop the Cavaliers. So why should it stop me? I’ll conquer and stay free.”
‘Six Months In A Leaky Boat’
— Split Enz (Tim Flynn), 1982
The Sacramento Kings are not that good, and really, no one should expect them to be. This notion will be said many times over and over this season. So let it be written, let it be done.
With a youthful core of players, the word has been about development, not only for this season, but at least the next two to follow. The package the Kings currently have now clearly dictates that this type of movement is necessary.
After DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans last February, the tyranny of distance became the Kings’ front office strategic plan. There should be no looking back. Abandoning the ship is not an option.
There will be losses and lessons learned along the way, such as the 46-point drubbing the Kings took from the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 15. But the name of the game, up and down the food chain, is to stay the course.
With that understanding, the Kings should not be perceived to do anything above themselves. What the team does need to do, win or lose, is compete every night. When the Kings have reached such a distance where they are showing solid improvements, the outcomes should be rewarding.
Skal Labissiere, George Hill, De’Aaron Fox, Zach Randolph, and Garrett Temple started against the Trail Blazers. Compared to recent games, it wasn’t a bad start for this unit. Portland led 20-19 at the end of the first quarter.
Shooting guard Buddy Hield left the Portland game with a sprained right ankle.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Coming into the game against the Kings, CJ McCollum made 43 of 81 shots (53.1 percent) behind the arc, the best output in the league thus far. He didn’t record one 3-point shot against the Kings, missing all four attempts. It also ended six games where McCollum has made at least three 3-point shots.
On The Marquee
Sacramento Kings: At Portland on Saturday
Portland Trail Blazers: Host on Saturday
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.