SACRAMENTO -- Kings fans were treated to an incredible scoring display Friday night at Golden 1 Center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of their own who did the damage.
Damian Lillard put on a show, scoring a season-best 50 points in just 29 minutes of action as the Portland Trail Blazers ran away from the Sacramento Kings for a 118-100 victory.
“Tough night,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said with a smile following the loss. “Damian Lillard was fantastic. I though we did a super job on him in the fourth quarter, where we held him scoreless.”
For the coach of a 17-37 team, you can either laugh or cry following another lopsided loss. Joerger chose to bring levity to the room, knowing that Lillard sat out fourth quarter with his team up big.
“It’s just one of those things where you’re just in a rhythm and it doesn’t matter where you are on the floor when you have his shooting ability and range,” veteran Vince Carter said. “Any crack that you see, you take it and he just felt that good and we allowed that.”
Lillard scored 14 points in each of the first two quarters to finish the half with 28. He was just getting warmed up.
“He’s a hell of a player; an All-Star averaging 25,” Garrett Temple said. “He got it going early, I think he had 10 in the first eight minutes of the game and then it was just downhill from there.”
Sacramento stayed close until the mid-third quarter when Lillard went into nitro mode. After the Kings cut the Blazers lead to one at 75-74, Lillard finished out the third quarter with 15 of Portland’s next 17 points in wild barrage.
“He just had it going,” rookie De’Aaron said. “We brought it back in the third quarter and then they just went on a run that we couldn’t answer.”
The All-Star guard dropped in 22 of his 50 in the third to help the Blazers build an 18-point lead heading into the final frame. There was no need for him to re-enter the game and risk injury.
“I saw we were up 20 and I was like, ‘Okay, if we keep this lead, there’s no reason to go back in there.’ I’d rather have 50 in 29 minutes with some character than go out there and chase 60 - I feel like that’s bad karma,” Lillard told reporters after the win.
Lillard shot an impressive 16-of-26 from the field on the evening, including 8-of-13 from long range. He fell short of the Golden 1 Center record of 55 points set by former King, DeMarcus Cousins, on Dec. 20 last season against Portland.