3 takeaways from Sacramento’s 133-116 win over the Portland Trail Blazers

The Kings moved to 33-25 with the victory.
By | 0 Comments | Feb 24, 2023

The Sacramento Kings overcame a slow start to defeat the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers, 133-116, on Thursday.

Portland was without their four best players: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic on Thursday so this was a game Sacramento had to win.

Despite some early struggles, Sacramento’s overall talent was too much for this undermanned Portland team.

Below are three takeaways from Sacramento’s victory.

De’Aaron Fox is in complete control

Fox was exceptional once again on Thursday, finishing with 31 points. With the game in single digits in the late third and early fourth, Fox put Portland to bed with his array of transition finishes and mid-range jumpers.

Thursday’s performance was a continuation of what Fox had been doing prior to the break and was his fifth consecutive game with 30 or more points.

When the Blazers made runs to make it close, Fox always seemed to answer with a quick response to quell any chance of the game getting within reach.

Portland was without their star, Damian Lillard, on Thursday, but most nights in the NBA there is a star on the other end that the Kings will need to match big shots. It now feels like Fox is someone who can go toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the NBA.

Sacramento has a legitimate shot at the No. 2 seed

After Thursday’s win, the Kings sit just two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Sacramento was treading water in the weeks before the All-Star break, while Memphis had struggled relative to their total record. On Thursday, the Grizzlies lost to the Sixers, closing the gap even more between the two teams.

It's still going to be a tall task for the Kings to catch them considering how difficult Sacramento’s schedule is in comparison to that of the Grizzlies. According to Tankathon, the Kings entered Thursday’s action with the 4th hardest schedule, while the Grizzlies had the 25th hardest schedule.

If the Grizzlies continue to slide down the standings, then there is a real shot Sacramento is the team that benefits.

The Kings’ sluggish start was predictable

It seems like clockwork that whenever the Kings face an undermanned team, they go down early and have to claw their way back into the game. This was the case once again on Thursday, as the Kings let an injury-ridden Blazers team get off to an early 16-point lead.

Of course, part of this was players on the Blazers making some insane three-pointers that had to cool off, but another part was the Kings seeming a little rusty and lackadaisical.

Luckily, Sacramento was far too talented for this injured Portland team to stay in the game.

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