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Trail Blazers 130, Kings 113: Kings Get Blazed in Portland

A career night from De'Aaron Fox is overshadowed by blowout loss.
By | 72 Comments | Dec 26, 2023

Dec 26, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots a jump shot against Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter (9) during the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The holiday break ended quickly for the Kings as they got right back to work tonight in Portland to face the Trail Blazers. Tonight was the first of three away games that remain in the calendar year for Sacramento. You can never take any team for granted in the NBA, but the Trail Blazers are certainly not one that a contending team would want to lose to, as they are still looking to crack double digits in their win column and are sitting at 14th in the Western Conference. It’s one of those games – a win for the Kings would feel right and just and expected, but a loss would feel disappointing and embarrassing and shameful. With that fun table set, let’s see how they did:

Quick Stats

Outcome: Kings lose, 113-130

Sacramento Kings: 113 pts, 48.4% fg, 23.8% 3pt 81.3% ft, 25 ast, 40 reb, 12 to

Portland Trail Blazers: 130 pts, 50.0% fg, 40.0% 3 pt, 80.0% ft, 28 ast, 46 reb, 10 to

In my mind, I am walking around the Golden 1 Center with a large cow bell in hand, rhythmically ringing it with every step while chanting “SHAME, SHAME, SHAME…”. The loss itself would have been disappointing, but to lose by 17 points to a young and injured Portland team is embarrassing. To not even be in a competitive position for 90% of the game is shameful. The Kings have set themselves up for a lot to answer for in the remainder of the year and this current road trip.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Good:
  1. The Fox and the Ox: De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis put up star numbers tonight. Offensively, they did their job. They combined for 78 points and were the only consistent producers on the floor for Sacramento. Sabonis was dominant in the post from start to finish. Moses Brown had no answers for Sabonis’ strength and footwork around the rim and Sabonis knew it. He scored 14 points in the first quarter alone, taking advantage of every opportunity he had to aggressively attack the rim and look to score. Sabonis finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. De’Aaron Fox had to pull out his scoring tricks from all three levels, as he led the team with 43 points and 8 rebounds.
The Bad:
  1. Everyone Else: While De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis clocked in for work on the offensive end tonight, everyone else seemed to have overslept. The Kings’ remaining 35 points were contributed by seven other players, none of which managed to reach double digits in scoring. Next up was Harrison Barnes, who scored 9 points on 0-3 from the 3-point line. Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk were the only other players besides Fox to hit a 3-pointer, but each only had one a piece. This loss had an extra sting to it knowing that the Kings got supreme production from their stars, but it was all for naught as there was no surrounding support.
The Ugly:
  1. Defense: I hate thinking, talking, and writing about this kind of defense, mostly because it’s hard to find the words to describe it. Some that come to mind: lame, frustrating, uninspiring, disgusting. The Trail Blazers have a lot of young speed and athleticism, but the Kings have a defense problem. Anfernee Simons led Portland with 29 points by getting to the rim with ease, often blowing by his defender and finding little resistance at the rim. Off the bench, Scoot Henderson torched the Kings’ defense with 17 points and 11 assists, carving up the defense and scoring and creating buckets for his teammates as the Kings scrambled to catch up. Portland didn’t even need their usual star, Jerami Grant, to have a big game, as he had a relaxing 13-point night. The Kings also gave up 16 offensive rebounds, 5 of which were grabbed by Duop Reath, Portland’s rookie off the bench who had 25 points and 9 rebounds. The Kings failed to stop the Trail Blazers at every level, as they even gave up 20 fast break points.

The King of Kings

De’Aaron Fox had a career night as he tied his season-high of 43 points and set a new career-high of 7 made 3-pointers in a single game. I wish so badly this performance could be recognized and celebrated for what it is – an incredible performance by an incredible player. But in this league, it’s winning that matters.

Up Next

Friday, December 29th @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 P.M. (PT)

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BeTheBall
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December 26, 2023 9:49 pm

At what point does moving Murray in a deal for some legitimate upgrades become a serious conversation to have? Since they’re seemingly not moving Fox or Sabonis, he’s the only real trade asset the team has.

RikSmits
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December 26, 2023 9:58 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Like moving Bridges to the Nets for KD?

Counterpoint would be like Denver staying patient with MPJ?

I don’t know what the solution is, but it feels too soon for panic moves.

BeTheBall
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December 26, 2023 10:41 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Sure, but Bridges was a bad move, because it gutted their the majority of their depth for a player that puts up a nice stat line, but has never elevated a team to another level. I equate that to something like selling the farm for a guy of Lavine’s caliber. That would be gross misuse of assets & cap room.

Meanwhile, Denver has the luxury of an all-time great to go along with a phenomenonal coach. Two things the Kings don’t have.

Unfortunately, we’re almost at the halfway point, and despite the record are a statically worse team than last season’s first round exit. Something needs to give. Another Haliburton-Sabonis type trade seems like the logical choice for McNair.

Yakshi
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December 26, 2023 11:48 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Well, I hope he doesn’t panic and do that.

RikSmits
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December 26, 2023 11:52 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

So, with these criteria, who is getable for a decent price (including Keegan) and without gutting the majority of our depth like Phoenix did?

Also, do we even have the depth that Phoenix had? Our bench looks underwhelming right now.

Last edited 2 months ago by RikSmits
Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 6:29 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Bench has looked mostly bad this season. Monk has his moments, but inconsistent. Lyles is inconsistent. Just not what I think people expected from that group.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 8:57 am
Reply to  RikSmits

That’s a good question that I don’t have an answer to, as I don’t know who is (or would be) suddenly available if the Kings were shopping a Keegan+firsts+salary filler.

Agreed on the bench. Outside of Monk who we know is a bit Jekyll and Hyde, it’s a pretty abysmal collection of players that are probably back of the rotation/end of bench guys on an upper-tier team. So we’re definitely going to have to send out a few firsts to get anything of note back.

Kfan
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December 27, 2023 9:21 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I think our bench really misses Davis. Feel like we need a use in case of emergency offensive spark plug for when the supporting cast plays like last night.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 27, 2023 10:13 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

If Monte were truly open to move Keegan for a star the problem is his salary. Being on the rookie scale means he will have to be packaged with much larger salary, in the same way Hali was shipped with Buddy. The most likely candidates to go with Keegan are Barnes, Huerter, and/or Monk. This is what would decimate the Kings depth.

Also, you just shouldn’t move a 6’8″ wing who can play both ways while still on his rookie deal unless you are getting a sure fire all-star on a long term deal that fits the timeline that also doesn’t play PG or C. Good luck with that.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 10:48 am
Reply to  Adamsite

It’s pretty much the purgatory we find ourselves in. We’re a middling team lacking enough talent to move beyond a first round exit, but also have an empty cupboard of assets to offer up for improvement.

eddie41
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December 27, 2023 6:13 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

No

billoddity
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December 27, 2023 8:56 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

For the right return I’d do it. He’s a good player with great potential, but The Kings seem to be riddled with finesse shooters…. I thought with Murray’s size he’s be able to score and defend in the paint or create off the dribble but he’s not that player. I’d preach patience but this team can start to contend if we have any semblance of toughness, defense and rebounding. I’d trade Huerter first but he’s not worth much, so….. 🤷‍♂️

aplumley
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December 27, 2023 9:23 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I don’t think anyone is untouchable. But the Kings should also be patient and perfectly content keeping the current roster construction unless the opportunity presents itself to make an obvious upgrade. They shouldn’t be desperate to make a move.
Luckily McNair has proven to be patient, pragmatic, and opportunistic.

aplumley
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December 26, 2023 9:50 pm

Fox and Sabonis are stars. Then there is everyone else.

Jman1949
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December 26, 2023 9:51 pm

comment image&ct=g

RikSmits
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December 26, 2023 9:54 pm

Live by the 3, die by the D.

Every good team has a stinker every now and then, but this game is symptomatic.

If the offense isn’t flowing for the whole team and there is no all out effort, this Kings team can lose to every team. And that includes the Pistons.

If one player can fix this D, it must be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

RPO
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December 26, 2023 10:58 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Live by the 3, die by the D.

Yeah, when the 3 pointer is falling they have a better chance of winning. Unfortunately this isn’t a good 3pt shooting team, middling at best (18th in the league in 3pt shooting percentage). Yet they shoot the third most threes in the league. With a defense as crappy as this, they can’t afford to keep squandering scoring opportunities by shooting so many threes.

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad
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December 27, 2023 2:07 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Man this was a well bad truly sucky loss.

I thought the squad looked right for a good playoff run, but maybe they do need one more excellent piece. Agreed that it needs to be DPOTY quality or similar to really make a difference.

Shame that Davion has become such a one dimensional creature. Really hoped he’d become the lockdown guard we needed

Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 6:30 am

What dimension does he even have? His defense hasn’t looked good, and that was supposed to be his thing.

eddie41
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December 27, 2023 8:34 am
Reply to  Hobby916

He changed his trainer in the offseason, and it screwed up his game.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 26, 2023 9:59 pm

As soon as they got to within 3 in the 3rd and they couldn’t cut it back, I knew it was over.

Lot of sad Kings fans walking out of the arena tonight.

Jack
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December 27, 2023 6:40 am

Thank goodness it wasn’t a home game. Fans wouldn’t stand for it. I wouldn’t blame them.

Ellis5
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December 26, 2023 9:59 pm

comment image Light the Bream!

Last edited 2 months ago by Ellis5
SelecaoKOJ
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December 26, 2023 10:18 pm

I think you’re glossing over or sweeping something under the carpet. .

Sabonis might have had 34 pts. But his defense on A 27!year old Rook was nothing short of atrocious.

Sure he had a great offensive performance. In the other end he was getting punched in the mouth all night long.

Sabonis is Also not a lock for All Star this year. Not with the emergence of Senguin, Wemby and Chet.

RikSmits
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December 26, 2023 11:43 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Strongly disagree.
Raeth scored a majority of his points with Domas not being near him.

He scored a fast break dunk by outrunning everyone down the court, while Domas was about the furthest away from him when the break started. Hard to put that on Domas.

He scored a 3 over Domas who closed outr late. I suspect he didn’t expect him to take a 3.

Then he scored another 3 after Domas gave help defense to Fox and was late in closing out.

Finally, he scored an offensive board over Domas and another which was just a great athletic play.

So I put 8 of Reath’s points on Domas. Also, Reath tried to score on post ups against Domas twice and got absolutely smothered.

Overall, Sabonis defended well and altered several shots with his help D, even though he didn’t get blocks. At the same time, we got constantly beat at the POA, and Fox, Huerter, Monk and (especially) Keegan were horrible. Keegan looked a step slow on almost every defensive possessions.

Last edited 2 months ago by RikSmits
Jack
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December 27, 2023 6:53 am
Reply to  RikSmits

The Blazers scored in every way possible you can in a basketball game. 3 points, drives to the basket, offensive rebounds, fast breaks and even one over the head backwards. What a parhetic show of defense by the Kings. As an old coach the saying still stands, offense wins games, defense wins championships. Last night we had neither other than Fox and Sabonis. I’m in the camp that says something has to be done and not until the middle of February. It will then be too late. IMO everyone except Fox, Sabonis, Murray or Monk should be on the block. I still believe in Monty and put it in his hands

Jack
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December 27, 2023 7:14 am
Reply to  Jack

Ok I wasn’t going to do this until later but because of last night can’t wait. Murraytant he goes. Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, 2026 first, 2028 first and maybe a second or 2 for OG Anunoby. Harrison Barnes for Jpnathan Issac straight up. Chris Duarte, Colby Jones, a first and second for either Tari Eason ot Alex Caruso. Fox, Caruso, Anunoby, Murray and Sabonis. OR If Anunoby could play shooting guard which I think he could then it would be Fox, Anunoby, Muttay, Eason, and Sabonis. Backups would be Ellis, Monk, Vezenkov, Lyles and Issac. Now you still have shooters and defensive players.

HongKongKingsFan
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December 27, 2023 7:45 am
Reply to  Jack

Just no way trading away Murray….

He is in his 2nd season, and he already broke record again and again…

and right now it is a “Forward-league”, which Keegan got perfect forwards size at 6″8

Jack
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December 27, 2023 10:21 am

In the above trades where do you see I am trading Murray? I would not do that.

Bluejohn
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December 27, 2023 5:35 pm
Reply to  Jack

I see what you’re saying Jack but why would getting rid of Murrytant help the Kings much. I mean he does have a pretty big presence in these threads but still…….

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 8:59 am
Reply to  Jack

I don’t think Orlando trades Isaac for Barnes straight up. I’m not an Isaac fan, but that still seems like a pretty big downgrade for Orlando.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 27, 2023 10:17 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

He’s the most injured player in the league making $17M per year and is currently 12th in minutes per game for the Magic. I think they’d move him for a box or rocks but Barnes with worth far more than that.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 10:39 am
Reply to  Adamsite

We definitely disagree on Barnes value. I just can’t see any team willing to eat his contract while getting zero production in return.

DCKing
December 26, 2023 10:23 pm

Atrocious!!! The team is regressing to the mean, outside of Sabonis and Fox lifting the team on their backs, like Curry often does for the Warriors. I predicted that the team would be a 6 seed if they played their best, but now I’m not even sure. We are losing to a lot of teams that we should be if we were actually a “team.” We are a bunch of individual players, many of which do not play hard most nights.

Red Velvet is absolutely garbage on defense and has not improved his shot. He doesn’t deserve more than 15 minutes.

Barnes is so average at this point in his career. Certainly a waste of money, but I don’t think we ever expected much of him, other than leadership and the good game here and there.

Lyles really has not been worth his pay either. We need to start him in place of Red Velvet so that we can rebound a bit better and so that Kevin can start leaning a lesson. I think this is the only way the Lyles starts to become more productive.

Vezenkov needs to get more time each game so that he can show whether he is a consistent 3pt shooter.

Brown just is not the same coach as last year. He doesn’t make the best substitutions when the game is out of control. We are horrible on defense, so why not play Vezenkov and Edwards more. Both play under control and have value. They have some length and hustle more than Barnes and Kevin.

Monte is what he is– low risk taker. That’s great in many, but I was so worried that we would play poorly with a best West this year. It’s easy to say now that the he did not use the off season all that well, other than getting rid of Holmes’ contract.

We need Thybulle quickly and maybe another small trade for a decent 3 and D power forward or Center. If we lose to many more sub 40% teams, we will be in a super tough spot. We are showing little heart, our coach seems a bit lost, and Monte has shown to be stuck with the dreams of last year.

I really hope that I am wrong, but I’m not sure that I have been since August. Crossing my fingers for better luck!

RPO
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December 26, 2023 10:45 pm
Reply to  DCKing

Well, Monte did pull the trigger on the Sabonis-for-Hali trade so I’m not sure I’d call him a low risk taker, but point taken – we’re a couple of pieces from being where we want to be so Monte’s got some work to do.

DCKing
December 26, 2023 11:10 pm
Reply to  RPO

True, he took a big risk there. I think the issue is that players like KH and Davion (or to a lesser extent, HB) need to be traded, if at all possible, to show the rest of the team that lazy defense and little to no improvement on offense just won’t cut it.

If we can’t get Thybulle, Jalen Smith,Bobby Portis,or guys like this, then let’s just play Edwards, Vezenkov, Duarte, Jones, McGee, Len, Ellis, and Slawson more minutes. Their effort can’t be worse than that of Barnes, KH, or Lyles ineffectiveness. Go all out defense with Sabonis, Murray, Fox, and Monk. . . that has to be better than the crap shown over the last month.

SelecaoKOJ
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December 27, 2023 1:16 am
Reply to  DCKing

I agree with a lot of what you say. But subbing in Lyles at the 2? That isn’t happening. Lyles will be fried chicken every night against speedy athletic 2s. Eaten Alive.

Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 6:33 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Well he wouldn’t guard SGs. Murray would be doing that. Lyles would be the PF and guarding PFs.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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December 26, 2023 10:39 pm

comment image&ct=g

Darn. Drat. Sigh.

Team looked like they were still opening presents as they were run off the floor.

Next.

RPO
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December 26, 2023 10:42 pm

Holy crap, when your team is shooting really badly from 3, why keep doing it? 42 of our shots (45% of the total shots) were 3 pointers but were only hit 24% from 3 this game! The offense has become way to one-dimensional and the defense is as bad as ever. There’s just something fundamentally wrong with the game plan. Brown and his staff need to try something different. Just hoping the 3 pointers will suddenly start falling isn’t a good strategy.

BeTheBall
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December 26, 2023 10:46 pm
Reply to  RPO

Brown seem likely to be our Mark Jackson. He’s turned the ship around from aimless drifting, but he’s probably not the coach that can take the jump to turn a team into a contender (without a LeBron).

RPO
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December 26, 2023 11:07 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I think Brown definitely deserves a good deal of the blame for the offense becoming predictable and very frequently ineffective, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s got a plan to bring some diversity to the offense. He’s been so much better than any other coach in the past decade and a half that I’m reluctant to heap too much criticism on him… for now.

RikSmits
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December 26, 2023 11:48 pm
Reply to  RPO

The curse of the COTY title?

He’s been so much better than any other coach in the past decade and a half

Completely agree, but should we use a bar that low to grade him against?

Yakshi
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December 26, 2023 11:53 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

*Mike Malone coughs in the corner*

RikSmits
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December 27, 2023 1:27 am
Reply to  Yakshi

A corner cough is better then a cough from the top of the key?

Yakshi
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December 27, 2023 2:27 am
Reply to  RikSmits

LOL. Just to add to the conversation without really disagreeing with anyone in particular, I just think that the biggest issue with the Kings over the last twenty years has been lack of talent, and I’m guessing that building talent will take years to address. We’ve had some terrible coaches, middling coaches, and at least one real head case in George Karl, but we’ve also had an excellent coach in Malone as well as–as you point out–a COTY, unanimously selected no less, who has pretty clearly changed the franchise for the better in several ways. But yeah, the lapses can be tough to watch.

Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 6:36 am
Reply to  Yakshi

For me, it’s the continued pounding the dwuare peg in to the round hole of shooting 3s at such a high clip when there are paint points to be had.

When the offense sputters with missed 3 after missed 3, they wait too long to adjust and get the ball to the rim. Like 5-6 possessions too long. That’s just bad coaching.

Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 8:43 am
Reply to  Hobby916

*square

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 9:06 am
Reply to  Yakshi

I wouldn’t even consider Karl a head case. Considering we knew at the time that Vlade undermined him consistently with the players. Then afterwards it came out that Vlade was also intentionally sabotaging his requests to add specific types personnel to the roster that would work with the style of basketball he was brought in to enact.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 26, 2023 11:54 pm

Not great Bob! I mean their problems are their problems. Their advanced stats are quite a bit worse than last year so these losses were going to come at some point. Still think we need some fairly major upgrades to really compete for anything. To get killed like that with Fox and Sabonis playing so well is huge red flag. Need a big time bounce back on Friday.

RikSmits
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December 27, 2023 2:20 am

It really looked like the Ghost of Kangzness Past.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 27, 2023 9:26 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It did. That was a very pre-2022 era Kings loss.

SelecaoKOJ
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December 27, 2023 1:19 am

The other elephant in the room. This team is not very athletic outside of Fox and Monk. That was exposed again tonite by a hyper fast Blazers team. Loaded with speed and high flyers. Blazers were running circles around the Kings and getting any look they wanted all night. Length and Athletic teams will always pose problems for this current iteration of the Kings

HongKongKingsFan
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December 27, 2023 3:52 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

We got length and size to match those “Long and Athletic teams”….
But it’s on Mike Brown that he rarely plays Len / Edwards / Slawson to match them up….

And that’s resulted in mis-match again and again….

I hope this game can wake Mike Brown up….
It’s time to make a change….just plays guys who give 120% efforts…….

Hobby916
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December 27, 2023 6:38 am

So the answer is to play Kessler, slow footed Len, and rookie G-leaguer Slawson? Wow, that is a really bad strategy. Effort is one thing, but those effort players also have to have some NBA talent to make a difference.

shawndeon
December 27, 2023 5:59 am

If the team can’t beat the Blazers. If Doup Reath can just play out of his mind against us. I’m not sure how seriously people should take the Kings. I mean I think they are a playoff capable team. But I don’t think they are anywhere near an actual contender.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 9:09 am
Reply to  shawndeon

They’re definitely a play-in team, probably a road-opener playoff team, but they’re a long way away from being a contender. Definitely not in the next year or two without a significant roster overhaul (meaning not just fringe pieces and back of rotation guys).

lazlohollyfeld
December 27, 2023 6:53 am

Jekyll has won 17 games and Hyde has lost 12. When the team is in full Jekyll mode, it can beat any team. When Hyde shows up, they can lose to any team and lose big. The inconsistency of the team, perhaps related to playing teams that the Kings match up poorly against, is the biggest problem. This is where Brown needs to switch up the lineup to better match an opponent, and if there aren’t the players on the bench to do that, Monte will either have to find them or it will be a disappointing season once full of promise. .

RikSmits
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December 27, 2023 7:18 am
Reply to  lazlohollyfeld

Our net rating is negative. The only team in the top 8 of the West that has a negative net rating. In the East, all top 9 teams have a positive net rating.

That is nuts, and seems unsustainable.

I have no idea which way it will unfold, though as a seasoned Kings fan, I have my suspicions.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 9:12 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Considering we’re on a 3 game skid, with a likely 2-4 (maybe even 1-5) record over our next 6, before setting up a scheduled loss at Detroit, I think we’re about to see just how unsustainable it is.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 27, 2023 10:19 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

It’s going to be miserable around here for a while if the Pistons break their streak against the Kangz.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 10:27 am
Reply to  Adamsite

If I were a betting man, I’d put money on the Pistons ML in that game. Streak or no streak. It seems like a textbook 140-128 loss for this team.

Last edited 1 month ago by BeTheBall
RobHessing
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December 27, 2023 9:09 am

comment image

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December 27, 2023 11:09 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Right there with you.

I thought winning cures all ills. Apparently that is not the case.

Sacramento is 17-12 and yet, unless they win every game and are contending for a championship after (/checks notes…) one good season, they are failing, need to blow it up, unsustainable, getting crushed, Coach of the Year cursed, and dammit the trade deadline is too far away, they need help now, trade Kevin Huerter, trade Harrison Barnes, trade Keegan Murray if you have to, get back Terrence Davis (they miss him), Chimezie Metu (did you see what he did on Christmas Day). oh, and if only he had a chance, $17M/season Jonathan Isaac. And if that weren’t enough – the record breaking, all time consecutive losses Detroit Pistons, now at a dismal 27 and playing best record Boston tonight, fortunately that battered fan base can still have hope – they play Sacramento on January 9, 2024 and it is already a scheduled win for them.

17-12 and underperforming.

I’ll take it.

My memory goes back further than the 30 games this season, the 7 playoff games and even beyond the 82 games last season. Maybe because I’m old enough to have some short term memory loss but not long term memory loss… or longer than short term (the 119 games listed above) memory loss.

To me. the Vivek/Matina/Aneel/Anjeeli run Sacramento Kings are still playing with House Money. I’m Bobby McFaddening as the magical 2023 calendar year of Kings basketball comes to a close.

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December 27, 2023 12:14 pm

McFerrin, McFadden

I reserve the right to have my bad editing streak remain intact

Adamsite
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December 27, 2023 10:06 am

Wow, glad I didn’t watch this one. As I’ve said a few times around here, you aren’t going to win too many games when you continually give up 130 points. I don’t care how well you shoot, you just can’t give up that many points.

I know there are a lot folks to point fingers at, and Huerter seems to be getting the lions share of them, but just looking at the boxscore I see he was a team best +5 in just 22 minutes, while Monk was an abysmal -21 in 19 minutes. Does that boxscore ring true to what happened on the court last night?

Oh, and who the hell of Duop Reath and how did destroy the Kings? I never heard of the guy until a read the recap. Cool name, though. Sounds like some Star Wars character.

RobHessing
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December 27, 2023 10:35 am
Reply to  Adamsite

One thing that I have noticed is that there is a palpable downturn in the Kings D when they are not making their 3s. It does not all fall under the official column of “transition points,” but the defense seems to be a lot less set and does a lot more scrambling after missing a 3 – the eye test says the give up more 2nd chance picks after missing 3s, too.

Now, this is not close to the entirety of what is wrong with the defense. But it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In both the Minny and Portland games we witnessed this. Had the Kings shot current season average of .364 from 3 in each of those games, the deficits would have shrunk from 12 and 18 to 0 and 3, and that does not take into account the positive impact that it would have had on the defensive end. I posit that had the Kings shot their season average (and note, the .364 is the number after going 18 for 75 (24%!) over the past two games).

This is not to say that making 3s is the only issue, as this team does need to figure out a way to win games when they are not converting from deep. And while it is easy to say that they should shoot fewer 3s in the moment, 3s are a big part of this team’s DNA, and you don’t know that you’re going to miss them until you’ve taken them. And for the most part, they are getting good looks from beyond the arc.

It seems to me that the team may need to put its collective nose to the grindstone when it comes to playing defense overall, especially on those nights when the 3s aren’t dropping, and specifically immediately after missed 3s.

And 1 – Did you ever think you’d see the day where you were more confident in Fox pulling the trigger on a 3 than Huerter or Barnes. We are witnessing an amazing transformation of a guy that had already attained all-NBA credentials. Pretty amazing to watch.

BeTheBall
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December 27, 2023 10:52 am
Reply to  RobHessing

The Fox evolution the last two seasons has been tremendous. The final box he needs to check is to get that FT shooting up to 80-82%. Which seems completely doable, considering the other strides he’s made with his shot.

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December 27, 2023 11:02 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

Agreed 100%. At 84% he would currently be a top 3 scorer in the league (6th right now).

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December 27, 2023 11:27 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Nice notice, Adamsite. Fox is exactly at his career level.(73.6%) this season compared to his previous 6 seasons.

As for Fox getting to the charity stripe, he is at the highest of his career (7.6 FTA/game) and is 10th in The Association. Giannis and Embiid are a level above everyone else at around 11.5-ish but Luka at number 3 is at 8.5-ish (or about one more per game than De’Aaron).

My point: he’s getting calls. Could he get more? He could. If you look at the list of those below him you’d shake your head and likely stay quiet though.(by the by- Domantas Sabonis is 23rd on this list).

Last edited 1 month ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
ajonez81
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December 27, 2023 4:51 pm

So here’s the deal, DaBoner is definitely overrated go check the on/off plus minus stats he’s not that good. Also the supporting cast is very average except for Monk and Keegan has potential. The on/off stats really tell you everything, Fox is a star and Monk js probably underrated, these are the only 2 you can count on in clutch.

RobHessing
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December 27, 2023 6:10 pm
Reply to  ajonez81

Sabonis & Fox have the best box plus/minus on the team, by margin. 2nd best player on a good team. Guess it depends on one’s optics. /Shrugs

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