The good and the bad in the Blazers’ 120-80 loss to the Kings

On Blazers Age Kids night, Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard stayed close Sacramento Kings in the first half. The second half was very different, as the Kings took control of Portland with an easy 120-80 win. Shedon Sharpe didn’t leave the kids too frustrated, though, opening the highlighter reel a few times on his way to 30 points for the night.



Neither team impressed at first. Portland led early but suffered repeated defensive lapses, including a play in which they simply forgot the inside founder. But the Kings couldn’t hit the open three. The Blazers led 20-19 after the first quarter. The Kings made several more shots and slowly pulled ahead by double digits in the second quarter, only for Shedon Sharp to lead the Blazers on a power-packed run to stay within 4 at halftime.

The wheels slowly came off in the second half. With the three still not down, Sacramento worked the ball inside, with Domantas Sabonis coordinating the move while their backcourt took care of the points. The Kings outscored the Blazers by 15 in the third, and then their three pointers began to fall. They opened the fourth on a 16-1 run, taking a 34-point lead. At this point, it was long over.

Let’s talk about royalty

With tonight’s win, the Sacramento Kings reached the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. This deserves a special mention.

For decades, the Sacramento Kings have been the NBA’s classic cautionary tale. “If your team doesn’t make smart moves, they will turn into kings!”. But here we are.

In a season where there are no truly great NBA teams, you can stare and see the similarities with the ongoing NCAA Tournament, where the Final Four are all ranked #4 or lower. Likewise, any above-average team has a chance of making a major playoff run in the NBA this season. The Kings, formerly a below-average team with mediocre management, finally made the right deals to get their team fit again. After several failed attempts.

Now, fans of all below-average teams with mid-management can daydream about being relevant again. No franchise in particular, though.

With that said, let’s take a look at the good and bad from tonight’s match.

The good

  • Kids can say one day they saw Shaddoon Sharpe as a rookie. He wowed the crowd all night, finishing with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. He also shot 6-13 from three. It’s too soon for Sharpe’s cap, but it still shows why he could potentially be a major part of the Blazers’ future. If the Blazers don’t make a desperate misfit deal to hang on to the present.
  • Jabri Walker had some fun tonight. He finished with 12 points on 9 shots, along with 5 rebounds and an assist.
  • It’s faint praise, but thanks to the first half, this game didn’t really feel like a 40-point blast. Sometimes, in the second straight season of watching your team sit their stars out and lose night after night, it’s the little things.

bad

  • The Blazers couldn’t stay long enough in the season for the kids to see Damian Lillard, who is at the peak of his fame. This is disappointing on multiple levels.
  • This must be the moment for Little People. He hasn’t been much of a part of the rotation at times this season, but with the team in full “youth action” mode, his minutes have skyrocketed. He should impress us with his fourth season, but he just can’t do it consistently. In 40 minutes, he scored 10 points on 4-17 shooting, with 4 turnovers and 1 highlight block. He still has time (and possibly opportunity) to improve, but he should probably thank his agent for securing a four-year deal before the season.
  • The Kings seemed like they rarely left second gear all night, ramping up energy long enough to make key runs to keep the Blazers at bay, then pouring it in when their shots finally started to fall. It’s crazy to watch the Kings and Blazers move aggressively in opposite directions.
  • It’s more fun watching kids lose than watching veterans lose. You’d think this would belong on the “good” list, but it sure isn’t.

square score | Analysis of the game Marlo Ferguson Jr

What then

Another date in Portland with those same Sacramento Kings Friday night, same Blazers time, same Blazers-channel.

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