CK Press Box Report: Blazers 110, Kings 99

By James Ham and Rui Thomas

Dame-over-Ray

The Sacramento Kings (20-37) may have a new head coach, but it’s clear they’re still a work in progress. The Kings fell behind double digits early in the game and made a late push in the fourth, but they still lost to the Portland Trail Blazers (39-19) by the final score, 110-99.

“We didn’t have much going for us in the first two quarters and into the third, but then the ball started moving,” George Karl told the media after the game. “In general, in the second half, we made some defensive plays that helped created some of our offensive possessions.”

The absences of DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) and Darren Collison (hip) were felt tonight. Despite the Kings dishing 24 assists to 13 turnovers, they struggled for stretches on offense, and shot 3-of-12 from behind the arc.

Meanwhile the Trail Blazers scored nearly at will, shooting 49.4 percent on field goals and 10-for-24 on 3-pointers.

“A couple of the 3’s they made, we fell asleep,” Karl noted. “Then a couple of the 3’s that they made were from good plays.”

Additionally, Portland outplayed Sacramento in the paint and out-rebounded the home team 43-33.

Rudy Gay stepped up his game following an eight-turnover effort on Friday and produced 24 points, eight rebounds and two turnovers. Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum scored 12 points apiece, and Andre Miller notched 12 points and 10 assists off the bench. Derrick Williams attacked the rim without abandon and finished with 18 points, including a flurry of hard dunks.

Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge carried his weight with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Damian Lillard took care of business with 31 points and seven assists. Wesley Matthews scored 17 points and Robin Lopez recorded 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Kings are now 2-3 under Karl. They start a brutal eight-game road trip on Tuesday playing the New York Knicks (12-46).

Notes and Analysis

  • Rudy Gay continues to torment the Blazers.  The veteran wing came in averaging 33 points per game this season against Portland and tonight, he dropped in a team-high 24 on 10-for-22 shooting.  Gay added eight rebounds and held Nic Batum to two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
  • Derrick Williams didn’t run the floor, he sprinted.  The high-flying forward came out of nowhere to score 13 of his 18 points in a wild fourth quarter.  Williams flew up and down the court and his teammates found him for one dunk after another.
  • Andre Miller once again proved up to the challenge tonight.  The 38-year-old guard dropped in his first double-double of the season, finishing the game with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added 10 assists in the loss.  Miller is finding a groove with his new teammates.
  • Ben McLemore continued his strong play of late, finishing with 12 points and two rebounds in 24 minutes.  After watching Wes Matthews beat him up in the post, it’s clear that McLemore needs to add weight and work on his strength in the offseason.  The laundry list is growing for McLemore, but his strides in year two have been impressive.
  • Ray McCallum is making the most of his opportunity once again this season.  With Collison ailing, McCallum picked up his fifth straight start at the point guard position and for the fourth consecutive contest, he scored in double-figures.  The second-year guard finished with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting and added five assists in 25 minutes.
  • Stat of the Night: The Sacramento Kings bench came to play tonight, scoring 44 points on 17-for-30 shooting.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen those numbers from the Kings second unit.

Quote of the Game

Andre Miller on playing for the Kings past this season

“That’s the goal, if it’s a third point guard or something where I have some effect on the team. I’m fine where I’m at.”

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