No Fox? No problem.
Playing the first of what could be many games without their star young point guard De’Aaron Fox, the Kings were the aggressor Tuesday evening at Golden 1 Center in a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum put up big numbers for Portland, but the Kings received huge baskets late from Nemanja Bjelica and Cory Joseph late to come away with a 107-99 victory over the Blazers.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings picked up their fourth win in five games to improve to 4-6 on the season.
With De’Aaron Fox on the shelf, the Kings need everyone to step up if they hope to compete. Against the Blazers, that player that shined the brightest was Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Sacramento’s super-sub put on a show from the moment he stepped on the floor. He wreaked havoc on the defensive end, coming away with four steals.
On the offensive end, he scored 15 of his 25 points in the first quarter, when very few of his teammates could buy a bucket. Bogdanovic shot 8-for-19 from the field on the evening, including 3-of-8 from long range. He also chipped in a team-high 10 assists.
If the Kings are going to survive the Fox injury, Bogdanovic needs to play like this every night.
When the season started, Bjelica and Richaun Holmes were supposed to be the Kings’ two bigs off the bench. We're a few weeks into the season, and the duo now is doing damage for Sacramento’s starting unit.
Bjelica was active early, hitting a pair of shots to get the Kings’ scoring going. He played well for stretches throughout the game, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
With Bjelica working the perimeter, Holmes went to work in the paint, dropping in 11 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes.
The two bigs complement each other well on the court.
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If at first you don’t succeed, keep chucking
The basket looked extra small when Buddy Hield took shots in the first half against the Blazers. The Kings’ sharpshooter missed his first two 3-point attempts so badly it was as if he was aiming at the wrong basket.
Eventually, Hield settled in, hitting a pair of 3-balls in the third quarter to get going. He finished the night with 20 points on 7-for-21 shooting from the field and just 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
With Fox out, the Kings need Hield to shoot. It helps when it goes in, but just the threat of one of the game’s best shooters is enough to help the team on some nights.