On Sunday evening the Blazers finally picked up a home win and broke a four-game losing streak by beating the Hawks. Tonight they looked to carry some of that momentum to Sacramento. With a win tonight the Blazers would have more wins in Sacramento than in Portland eleven games into the season.
The Kings were without both De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley and you’d think that both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum would be able to feast on a slower rotation of guards not known for the defense. And early it looked like it might be that way early on in the first quarter.
As we know that isn’t how the Blazers work this season. There is a good chance that things might not get easier for the Blazers until they make a move or Jusuf Nurkic comes back.
And the Blazers fell to a less talented (on paper) Sacramento Kings, 107-99. The Blazers are now 4-7 on the season and do not look good.
Oh boy, did this game start ugly for the Kings. They were 5-22 to start the game and the Blazers opened up a quick 16-5 lead. It should have been a lot more. The team did not take care of the what-so-ever in that the first quarter. They had eight turnovers and looked flatfooted on a lot of loose balls. They had some easy rebounds but were out-hustled by the Kings front line.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only player in the first quarter that seemed to do anything for the Kings. He got steals, led fastbreaks, hit threes. Hield had threw up a few airballs in the quarter.
Hassan Whiteside picked up three quick fouls and spent the rest of the first half on the bench. Skal Labissiere did not fair much better. He had two quick turnovers and was outplayed by the likes of Harry Giles and Nemanja Bjelica. Moses Brown did come in for the final four minutes of the half and gave the Blazers three nice rebounds and showed some good movement on defense. He took a really awkward looking hook shot, but that’s not his game. He was open and I like the confidence, but the kid should not be looking to score right now. Rebounds, blocks, and solid screens are what he should be looking to do. Those will get him minutes.
And the Blazers need all the big man minutes they can get right now.
The Portland Trail Blazers somehow held onto a 49-46 lead at halftime.
A lead they could not hold on to. They started off the second half having more turnovers (three) than points (two) in the first two minutes of the half. The Kings took advantage of those sloppy plays and jumped out to a 57-51 lead. behind some red hot Buddy Hield shooting and Harrison Barnes out there looking like Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Everyone not named Whiteside came out looking extra flat and disinterested. This is not the first time the team has come out to start the second half like Terry Stotts made the entire team down a bottle of sleeping pills and run uphill sprints.
I am not sure what is happening in the locker room at half time and whatever it is Stotts needs to start doing the exact opposite. The only Blazer that played worth a damn in the third was Lillard. CJ was hot in the first half and only had two points and a turnover in the quarter.
Let’s talk a bit more about CJ’s third quarter. He had a quick basket to start the quarter, but then had two bad turnovers (oh, one officially wasn’t charged to him) and fouled Buddy Hield on a three-point attempt by lazily going around a screen. He ended up right under Hield on his shot and then Heild made all three free throws.
And CJ missed two big free throws at the start of the fourth quarter.
His second-half defense appeared to be worse than usual. Every time I looked up there was another King driving by him and getting to the basket. Thankfully, Stotts decided to put in Anfernee Simons, who at least tries on defense. He’s not great at defense either, but at least he tries.
Not could be said for the rest of the Blazers. Their preferred defensive stance reminded me of Pete Carroll standing on the sidelines chewing gum as his players ran past him. And the close out on shooters, especially Bogdanovic was equally pathetic. The dude was hot and the Blazers were all like, “Nah, he won’t make another one.”
He did make another one. He made multiple other ones. The Kings never let the Blazers get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Despite the Blazers needing more depth and legit third scorer, Carmelo Anthony is not the answer. He’d just take away from the development of both Simons and Gary Trent Jr. Right now that is not the move to make. Kenneth Faried makes more sense.
Stotts should play Moses Brown more. The kid is a decent defender. He’s probably the third-best defender on the team and that’s not saying much, but still.
The Blazers need to trust Whiteside as an interior defender. The guy has multiple games where he’s had ten blocks or close to ten blocks. The Blazers collapse as a whole team on near every drive and the other team has wide-open three pointers. This has been an issue all season. This is another thing Stotts needs to fix.
The Raptors are already in Portland waiting for the Blazers. Tip time is at 7:00 PM and we’ll get Calabro back on the call.