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Kings 133, Trail Blazers 116: No weather delay for the Beam

After a slow start, De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis helped lead the Kings to a win over a hobbled Blazers squad.
By | 29 Comments | Feb 23, 2023

Feb 23, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) reacts after scoring a basket against Portland Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little (10) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s such a thing as an “ugly” blowout win, the Kings might just have done it.  The Trail Blazers came into town only a few hours before the game due to some weather delays, and they were also without four of their five starters and a couple other rotation players to boot. Naturally, Portland would start the game out on a 24-9 run over the first six minutes behind some incredibly hot outside shooting by Nassir Little (who finished with a team-high 26 points) and a zone defense that the Kings didn’t seem prepared to face.

For Kings fans who have seen this team get off to slow starts all season, and also seemingly throw away whatever on paper advantage they had, this was unsurprising.  Thankfully, the Kings were able to find their footing after players like Terence Davis and Trey Lyles brought some energy off the bench, and eventually the rest of the team found their groove and took a nine point lead into halftime that they would never relinquish.

De’Aaron Fox started the game just 0-3 from the field but finished 11-15 for 31 points, his fifth straight game of 30 or more points, something that has never been done before in the Sacramento-era.

Domantas Sabonis also made a little bit of Sacramento-era history himself tonight, notching his 7th triple-double of the season with an impressive 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.  That’s the most triple-doubles by any Sacramento King in one season, and he’s now second all-time in triple-doubles in the Sacramento-era behind Chris Webber’s 14.

As mentioned earlier, Sacramento’s bench played a big part in the team regaining the momentum. Terence Davis can be a very chaotic player at times, but when he’s focused and hitting his shots, he’s an exceptionally useful sparkplug. Tonight he scored 20 points, including 4 of 5 from three to go with 4 rebounds and 2 assists.  Malik Monk made his return after missing the last two games due to an ankle injury and already looked back to his old self, scoring 15 points in just under 21 minutes. He had a particularly explosive layup where he took off from just inside the free throw line.

Despite the slow start, the Kings ended the night shooting 54% from the field as a team, along with 25 of 31 of their free throws.  Portland played a zone defense for much of the night, and while it frustrated the Kings early, they eventually were able to figure it out and get pretty much what they wanted on offense.

For the Kings, every game in this final stretch run is important, so it would have been nice to see them come out with a bit more energy and focus to start this one.  Thankfully, they were still able to take care of business and now it’s on to Los Angeles for a big matchup against the Clippers tomorrow night.

Random Observations

  • Keegan Murray didn’t have the most prolific game, scoring just 10 points on 4-7 shooting, but he had one very impressive move for a midrange bucket which I think is a sneak preview of what Murray can be when he unlocks more of his game.
  • Nassir Little definitely looked like he was out to prove something with the extended opportunity he got tonight. He doesn’t play much usually, only averaging 16.8 minutes a game this season, but he shot well tonight, scoring 26 points on 10-19 shooting, including 5-9 from three.
  • Cam Reddish scored 24 points, and while he had his moments, he also showed why he’s already on his third team in four seasons. He’s just too inconsistent of a player for how much he shoots. Those 24 points came on 7 of 18 shooting and he also had 5 turnovers.  It’s possible he’ll look better in a smaller role when Portland’s main pieces come back.
  • Shaedon Sharpe didn’t have the best game, scoring just 9 points on 4-14 from the field, but he still left an impression on me.  He’s effortlessly athletic and given his young age, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him grow into one of Portland’s better players sooner rather than later.
  • Fairly good night for the Kings if you’re scoreboard watching. The Grizzlies, Pelicans, Thunder and Warriors all lost.
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TheBaker
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February 23, 2023 10:06 pm

In a weird way, this game reminded me of many of the ugly losses Sacramento had over the last several years – come out hot and think there’s a chance; then the better team shows they are unfazed and takes control.
It is strange being on the winning end of these, more often than not.

RikSmits
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February 23, 2023 10:14 pm

Good to come out with an emphatic win against an easier opponent after the AS break.

Fox with 31 points in just 25 minutes and on just 15 shots; that’s super efficiency.

Fairly good night for the Kings if you’re scoreboard watching. The Grizzlies, Pelicans, Thunder and Warriors all lost.

Yeah, everything that gives a bit of breathing room is an added plus.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 23, 2023 10:19 pm

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Kings Win! Light The Beam and Dance!

Jman1949
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February 23, 2023 10:26 pm

Blazer dance!

comment image&ct=g

RikSmits
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February 23, 2023 10:34 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

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ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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February 23, 2023 10:40 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

WTF!?!?

tom-delonge-wtf1.gif
Want2win
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February 24, 2023 8:12 am
Reply to  RikSmits

That was me last night with a slight case of Montezumas revenge after eating street tacos off a cart in Port Morelos in the maya riviera!

murraytant
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February 23, 2023 10:51 pm

Ugly win against depleted team. Bad start.
But……..it is a win. Now 24 to go. I would like a 14-10 split.

LAL look better but they have no margin for error.
Kings came out so flat- seemed locked in and enthusiastic but wheels fell off early. Too excited?
LAC will take this seriously a must win for them.
I want Keegan to out a 40 piece on their noggin.

Jack
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February 24, 2023 6:42 am
Reply to  murraytant

I would like this also but for it to happen he needs more touches. I saw him open a few times last night but never got the ball.

murraytant
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February 24, 2023 9:24 am
Reply to  Jack

I do believe that there is a reluctance to pass to him. It would be interesting to count passes to him- from whom did they come?
He had a far more varied offense last year. I would like to see him as aggressive and diversified as HB.
By next year, he had better be third option on offense.

Blazers second unit is long and athletic- got their hands on multiple balls.

Sacto_J
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February 24, 2023 1:18 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I don’t think that’s his lane this year. I see his lane being spacing the floor for his teammates first, rebound second, create last / only if the opportunity is there. And he’s doing a pretty damn good job at doing exactly what this team is asking of him, I don’t really see a problem here.

Jack
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February 24, 2023 2:38 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

With his role I tend to agree but if he could be able to have a few more touches instead of averaging 8 to 10 points on a given night how about 14 to 16. I think that is a real possibility.

Want2win
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February 24, 2023 8:13 am
Reply to  murraytant

I would too but according to inthestarz he is not good enough and an utter disappointment.. I’m paraphrasing and adding hyperbole…

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad
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February 23, 2023 11:00 pm

All Star break was good for this team!

RPO
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RPO
February 23, 2023 11:55 pm

The break between first and second quarter tonight was good for this team!

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad
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February 24, 2023 3:12 am
Reply to  RPO

Yeah that was good too. The first quarter sucked pretty bad

ArcoThunder
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February 24, 2023 7:31 am

For the record, not that it matters…

I was reading the game thread yesterday and then watched the game later at night when I came home. There are some seriously wacky tales happening in these game threads. 1st quarter comments were mostly in the vibe of “this team is pathetic” “fox sucks” “Keegan is a bust” and “Kangz” “Kangz” “Kangz”.

The reality when I watched the first quarter was… Fox missed a few wide open 3pt shots, Keegan missed a few open looks, Domas missed some bunnies and made a few forced passes resulting in turnovers and the blazers were hitting all their shots some coming with below average defense and some coming in front of very good defense.

I just found the “this team and that guy are terrible” takes to be kind of funny in hindsight. Enough of the “hot takes”already. Yikes.

Want2win
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February 24, 2023 8:16 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

Yes game threads are full of Jim Rome wannabes! Not sure why anyone would want to be an uniformed douchenozzle that lives off if uninformed hot takes but I guess everyone has hero’s…

Want2win
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February 24, 2023 8:10 am

I couldn’t watch on my teams app… probably because I am in Cancun and it sometimes doesn’t allow unless using a vpn… had to follow on gamecast with ESPN. Anyway happy they one, no shame in a slow start as long as you finish strong with a solid w! I do understand the fretting about the consistent slow starts and would like to see more games where they apply solid D in Q1 like they do in spurts during 3 and 4..

go kings and let’s get a W against the Sailships of Los Homelessness!

Kosta
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February 24, 2023 8:22 am

Fox’s facial expression in this article photo is hilarious.

RobHessing
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February 24, 2023 9:19 am
Reply to  Kosta

comment image.
“I’d stay out of the key for the next few minutes, Nassir. And don’t order the clams. Whew!!!”

murraytant
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February 24, 2023 9:26 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Fox got cranky and said I am not waiting- so he went out and stripped Johnson etc.

BuffaloDiaspora
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February 24, 2023 9:22 am

Maybe this team needs to just slow things down a bit in the first half? I get that when you have De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk you want to run run run, but perhaps everyone else doesn’t quite work well in that framework?

Looking at their quarter-by-quarter splits for the season, they run at a blazing 104ish pace in the first quarter where they have terrible shooting and defense and a -2.5 NetRtg and then the pace comes down every quarter finally settling at around 97 in the 4th quarter where they sport a very respectable defensive rating, shoot the lights out and have a +6.9 NetRtg.

RikSmits
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February 24, 2023 9:47 am

That’s a very interesting point.

eddie41
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February 24, 2023 9:52 am

think Fox will play tonight? he tweaked his ankle in the 1st half.

ZillersCat
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February 24, 2023 10:46 am
Reply to  eddie41

Yup!
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Sacto_J
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February 24, 2023 1:28 pm

Was at the game last night and holy hell, that first qtr! Blazers couldn’t miss and while it was frustrating we were down 15 or whatever you could tell they weren’t going to be able to keep it up. During warmups the Kings had like 20 guys running around, the Blazers had like 10, tops. And they looked small across the lineup. So even though they were making it rain, I think most of us knew where it was headed once the Kings started playing defense in the 2nd qtr. And that was the visible difference; their effort on defense was atrocious in that first qtr. and it showed. Once they started tightening that end of the floor up you could see the Blazers space disappear and shots stopped falling for them.
Anyway, was good to see a win, don’t care if it was against an “inferior” opponent. This would have been a choke game in years past. This team is good and we’re loving it at my house.
Go Kings.

Kingsguru21
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February 24, 2023 2:55 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

Sacto, I too was at the game, and I wasn’t really worried once I saw the bench come in and reverse course starting with TD. If that trend had carried into the 3rd qtr, I’d agree with you.

Scoring by Qtr:

PDX 37 Sac 29
PDX 20 Sac 37
PDX 34 Sac 34
PDX 25 Sac 33

Over the last 3 qtr’s, the Kings scored 104 points. The Blazers scored 79.

Fox scored 31 points…..after the 1st qtr (25 in the 2nd & 3rd qtrs). The starters had 34 of the 37 points in the 2nd qtr. Similar story in the 3rd (Kings starters score 26 of the 34 points).

49 bench points out of your 133 total. Domas puts up a trip dub and plays the least amount of minutes since the New Orleans blowout in NOLA and the 1st game in Houston where he was in foul trouble all night.

I think we’re seeing positive signs with depth that we are getting quality contributions from TD and Malik consistently now. When Lyles gives you what he gives you, you’re a better team. Plus, your starters are playing well. Keegan Murray could give you more, but he’s 22 and he’s a rookie. There’s time. Harrison Barnes is a metronome….giving you 14 & 6 on 61 TS% (this year it’s 15 & 4.6 on 63 TS%) leading the team in minutes. Again. (HB is 2nd on the roster in total minutes to Domas.)

I’m excited to see how the Kings play tonight, honestly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 24, 2023 3:26 pm

Seeing higher scoring by Nassir Little, Cam Reddish and Shaedon Sharp confirms what we have seen in Kangz past. Someone has to be the high scorer for even the lesser teams. Sometimes it is an insight into a future starter or star – sometimes it is just more opportunity which goes not very far.

Who led the Kings in scoring the last 25 games of last season (with Domas and Fox out)? If I recall, it was Davion who went from a 20+ ppg game scorer to the current 5.5 ppg on 18 min per game.

Is Nassir Little a guy who just needs more playing time and experience to be a starter? Probably, but maybe not. I think of Gary Trent, Jr. who climbed up from his first two years with Portland to his stats with the Raptors these last 2.5 seasons. The right player in the right situation (or wrong) can make or break a career.

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