mikebarrett

Dec 23

Kings Again Have Portland's Number

By mikebarrett Posted in: Kings

There are a ton of excuses to toss out there after losses like this.  We touched on a few of the factors during the broadcast of this game, but it doesn’t change anything.  The Kings beat the Trail Blazers again, and with the victory, snapped Portland’s five-game winning streak and sent the Blazers into Christmas with a loss.

But, given what transpired on the recent six-game homestand, it’s still tough to feel too badly about where this team is right now.  Being 13-13 would perhaps be disappointing in another season, but it’s certainly acceptable, at least in my mind, right now.  I  can say that because I’m not a player or a coach.

Some of the things you can get away with at home you can’t get away with on the road.  Portland’s turnover total was the only thing that kept Phoenix in the game on Saturday night, and in this game, away from the cozy confines of the Rose Garden, they were a big part of Portland’s undoing.

During the homestand the Trail Blazers were able to survive with a shorthanded roster.  But, Wesley Matthews was badly missed in this game against Sacramento.  The Blazers always ride their starters hard, as you know, but on a second of a back to back, even if it is against the Kings, you can only go to that well so often before it comes back to bite you.

The Kings were playing without DeMarcus Cousins and without Tyreke Evans.  As I always say, I’d much rather play a team at full strength than one that’s missing a centerpiece of its offense.  That sounds strange, but it’s so often the case.  It enters into a game an “x factor” and the unknown is tough to game plan for. 

We wondered, before the game, if the Kings aren’t better without Cousins, who is talented, but is like a sponge inside the lane in their offense.  He’s a bulk shooter and dominates the ball.  In this game we saw a Kings team that moved well without the ball, shared shots, and played with a belief.  Yes, Portland’s defensive struggles had a lot to do with this, but I think Sacramento would win as many games without Cousins as they would with him.  Perhaps that’ll be put to the test in the near future.

Sacramento shot a scorching 56% against the Trail Blazers on Sunday, and dished out a season-high 31 assists.  This is a team that’s dead last in the NBA in assists normally.

It also seems like in the NBA you can run into bad matchups.  Sometimes it’s just that simple.  Maybe that’s too simple, but it makes losses like this easier to explain. 

The Trail Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and also by J.J. Hickson who had yet another double-double.  Hickson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and extended his streak to 8-straight games in double figures in those catagories.

The backcourt did miss Matthews badly, but still got 17 points and 8 assists from Nic Batum.  Damian Lillard also had solid numbers, scoring 15 points and dishing out 7 assists.

It’s odd how it works at times in the NBA, but Portland’s last two losses have now come at the hands of the Kings.  Sandwiched in between the losses was a stretch of five-straight wins. 

And, the Blazers will get an immediate shot at redemption, again, against this Sacramento team.  The two teams will wrap up their four-game season series on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.  Hopefully Matthews will make his return to the Blazers’ lineup.

You can add your thoughts below, as always.

We’re so fortunate to be heading home for Christmas.  At times the schedule can be brutal, and it’s no fun to be away from loved ones at this time of year. 

Thanks to you all for your continued support and participation.  There’s no place like Portland, and even though it’s cliché, we’ve got the best fans in the NBA.  Love to you all, and have a very good Christmas.  We’ll talk to you again on Wednesday from the Rose Garden.

6 Comments

  1. Hey Mike; Merry Christmas to you and that other Mike LOL.
    I believe we will beat Sactown Wednesday. We are not as good as we want to be and Sactown isn't as bad as we want them to be.

    No excuses, but not only match ups, but timing of the schedule will indicate the winner. Last game we just came back from a long long road trip an was hung-over from too much home cooking. This game was the second of a BtoB, which isn't normally that bad, but the Phoenix game was very high tempo and ran the legs off our starters, especially Aldridge with that sore ankle.

    Really it seemed like to me one of the teams started their Christmas vac a might early and it wasn't Sactown. There is not a doubt in my mink that we are a better team then Sac, But maybe I will have to wait until Wednesday to find out.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY

    HAROLD GENE MANGUM

    by Hg on 12/23/2012 11:15 PM
  2. Hello Mr. Barrett,
    I am with you about the sting of a loss isn't burning on this one. SAC may want to phone it in on Wednesday. The pride of our boys won't allow another loss to them.
    Stotts took a gamble and went with 5 reserves on the floor at once. That let SAC get going. If it would have worked we would be calling Stotts genius for resting our starters.
    Travis Outlaw. Glory days. He relives it against Portland. His face looks like he is barefoot, sitting on the muddy banks of the Mississippi, reeling in a big yellow cat. Stotts needs to make him uncomfortable early. He will go away.
    Wesley didn't travel. We need him with the team Mike.
    I am enjoying this season. I like our group of guys. The future is bright.
    Happy Holidays !!

    DAVID J. MCKEE

    by Divotking on 12/24/2012 6:21 AM
  3. @Divotking:
    the Sac announcers said that Smart should tell Travis that our opponents is the Trailblazers every game, because that is the only games he has played well in.

    I agree with you on the Wednesday game. If we were going to be unproductive in any game, this would be the one.

    Although I don't like it, bad games do happen, There could have been a let down from the hard fought battle with Phoenix the night before. We started out pretty good and it seemed as though the starters just ran out of gas. Nevertheless they appeared not ready to compete after the first quarter, and that does upset me, but like you it is not biggie.

    by Hg on 12/24/2012 8:41 AM
  4. With another team I would have said since it wasn't going well to use the 4th quarter as practice for the 2nd group. With this team coming back from 18 down in a fourth quarter we get to sit on the edge of our seats to the end. This is an exciting team to watch even as you watch them pass the ball into the 2nd row.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    by Ancientone on 12/24/2012 9:43 AM
  5. @Hg;
    Brandon Roy brought out the best in Outlaw. Took him under his wing. Remember Nate's conditioning drill? In training camp players had to run a certain distance under a certain time. Travis could never pass the test until one year Brandon ran beside him and encouraged him the whole way.
    Outlaw has been a bust since leaving Portland. However he has been paid well. It's too bad because he has a ton of talent but no work ethic.
    Enjoy your holidays Hg.

    by Divotking on 12/24/2012 10:30 AM
  6. @Divotking: Yes, regardless of Travis off season work ethics, going cat fishing daily with his dad whether then to train, he is a very likable dude, and it is too bad that he doesn't take BB more seriously, and use his talent. Nate told him if he could just learn to go left instead of just right no one could stop him, he practiced that just one summer, started doing it quite well and broke his foot, IMO, it has been down hill since.

    by Hg on 12/24/2012 1:09 PM
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