Portland, OR-- Portland’s defensive struggles continued Saturday night.
The Kings got out and ran on the Trail Blazers. Sacramento made a living with its fast break points early on. The Kings took a quick 26-10 lead midway through the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, Sacramento held a 40-24 after scoring 14 fast break points.
Saturday’s game was very similar to Friday’s contest in Phoenix where the Suns got hot from the start and the Blazers were not able to dig their way out of the hole even with Portland going on big runs.
The Kings scored 77 points in the first half on 57.7 percent shooting.
After being down by 23 at halftime, Portland outscored Sacramento 26-23, but it wasn’t enough heading into the final period. The Kings stepped up their defensive effort and cruised to a victory.
FINAL BOX SCORE: KINGS 123, TRAIL BLAZERS 111
Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
1. Another slow start for Portland
The Trail Blazers game plan to start the game was to get big man Hassan Whiteside involved in the offense. The Blazers went to Whiteside for the first four possessions. The first two resulted in a lay-up and a dunk. But, besides Whiteside’s production and Gary Trent Jr.’s scoring outbreak off the bench, Portland had a hard time putting points on the board.
For the Kings, they found a shooting groove early while sharing the ball. Sacramento had five players double figures after three quarters.
2. Same old problems
When the Kings weren’t beating the Blazers down the court and finishing with an easy lay-up, Sacramento was beating Portland from three. Just as the Blazers have struggled with all season – rotating on the perimeter does not seem to be in Portland’s defensive playbook. The Kings shot 66.7 percent (14-21) from deep in the first half. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield led the way from behind the arc with a good majority of the threes were uncontested. For the game, Sacramento shot 55.3 percent from long distance.
3. Tempers boil over
Early in the third quarter, frustrations mounted for the Trail Blazers with 8:50 on the clock and Portland down by 20.
Following a pick set by Kings big man Alex Len on CJ McCollum, the two exchanged shoves and nearly exchanged punches.
After the officiating crew took a look at the replay for a ‘hostile act,’ it was determined that Len was charged with an offensive foul and both Len and McCollum were charged with offsetting technicals. The third quarter scuffle showed how frustrated the Blazers are after finding themselves in such big deficits so early in their past two games to teams with worse records than them.
Up Next: Portland continues its six-game homestand Tuesday night when the Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Suns at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.
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