It was the Sacramento Kings home opener on Friday night, and the Trail Blazers were hoping to play spoiler.
In Portland’s second game of the season, the Blazers expected a fast-paced game with Kings third-year player De'Aaron Fox at the helm. And, that’s exactly what they got.
Sacramento brought the tempo all night, while the Blazers looked out of sorts, at times, early on.
Portland, however, brought more energy in the second half, led by the play of Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Trail Blazers’ win on Friday night:
1. Blazers missing ‘gimmies’ to start
Portland found themselves in hole after the first quarter. If the Blazers were able to finish their lay-ups and easy put-backs that wouldn’t have been the case.
CJ McCollum and Zach Collins both missed shots at the rim that they usually make.
It wasn’t until about 90 seconds remaining in the second quarter that McCollum’s offense turned around a bit after he stole the ball from Dewayne Dedmon, which led to a McCollum fastbreak dunk, his first of the season.
2. Too many open threes for Kings
The struggles on the perimeter continued for Portland. After the Blazers allowed the Nuggets to make 18 three-pointers in Portland’s home opening loss, the Blazers have been focusing on tighten up the perimeter defense.
You have to give credit to the Kings, they have a lot of shooters who can hit from deep, but the Blazers were also giving the Kings way too much space. Whether it was not rotating fast enough or not having good close outs, the Blazers were not making it difficult enough on the Kings outside shooters.
3. The Lillard-Whiteside connection
A 37-point third-quarter for the Blazers was the difference maker in this game. A big reason for the uptick in points was the Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside connection. Lillard allowed Whiteside to go to work by feeding him down low. The handful of Trail Blazers fans in attendance also thoroughly enjoyed Lillard’s lob to Whiteside. The big fella had 18 points in the third.
Lillard also poured it on in the second half, hitting from deep and taking it hard to the rim.
Anfernee Simons also gave Portland a nice offensive boost off the bench all night. In just his second year, Simons shows no fear on the offensive end.
Up Next: Portland continues its four-game road trip. The Blazers and Mavericks will tip-off at 4:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App on Sunday.
Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!