McCollum, Blazers Pummel Kings
Sacramento never held a lead in Saturday’s blowout loss to Portland
Saturday night’s contest between the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers was…a lot of things.
‘Fun’ is not a word I would use to describe the 48 minutes of basketball.
Portland took a huge lead early and never looked back, outscoring Sacramento in every quarter on the way to a 125-99 thrashing at Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento (4-6) has lost two-straight contests and have now dropped five of its previous six games.
It was all Portland from the get, with the Blazers taking an early 24-11 lead in the first quarter. Sacramento would never recover, as CJ McCollum and company would never trail, going wire-to-wire in an overall ugly contest for the Kings.
After allowing a franchise-record 144 points to Toronto on Friday night, the Sacramento defense couldn’t slow down McCollum (37 points) and the rest of the Blazers offense.
Sacramento is 29th in the league in team defensive efficiency.
Impressive rookie Tyrese Haliburton was plugged into the starting lineup for the first time on Saturday night, taking the place of an injured Richaun Holmes.
Each player got their own introduction from a family member, meaning that the 20-year-old’s first start would be welcomed by an introduction by his father, John Haliburton.
The rookie did a solid job of distributing the basketball, finishing with a game-high eight assists to go along with 12 points over 31 minutes.
Haliburton only took eight shots during the blowout loss, converting five of those opportunities to increase his field-goal percentage to 52-percent on the season.
Starting at the center position, Marvin Bagley III scored 15 points on five-of-14 from the field while grabbing eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Looking for some defensive help on the interior, Hassan Whiteside got some run on Saturday night after sitting during the last two contests. Whiteside scored 11 points and finished with seven rebounds over a season-high 24 minutes.
This season has not been kind to Buddy Hield.
‘Buddy Buckets’ has not lived up to his name, putting on another rough performance against Portland. Hield finished three-of-10 from the field, including two-of-eight from three-point range en route to a season-low eight point night.
Hield is shooting well below his career-average of nearly 44-percent from downtown, coming in to action on Saturday with a three-point field goal percentage of 34-percent.
While the team’s struggles are not on the shoulders of Hield alone, you have to wonder if it might be time for a lineup change within the starting unit.
Last season, Luke Walton opted to move a struggling Hield to the bench in lieu of Bogdan Bogdanovic midway through the season. Although the sharpshooter was disgruntled in his reserve role, Hield played much better after the move to the bench.
“Everything is on the table,” Walton said postgame on if there have been discussions towards a lineup change.
Walton stated that it isn’t always about starting your five best guys, it’s more about finding a successful balance. For Walton, his balance is having one of Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox on the floor at all times.
With Haliburton playing like a veteran guard, it’s possible that Walton decides to make a change to slow the bleeding, with Sacramento having lost five of its last six games and more tough matchups coming up next week.
Although he only scored 10 points (four-of-eight from the field) in the loss, Harrison Barnes had another solid night.
The veteran forward pulled down seven boards on Saturday, pushing his season average to seven rebounds per game on the season. Barnes’ career-high for rebounds per game is 6.1 (2017-18).
Glenn Robinson III provided the Kings with a solid boost off of the bench, finishing with 11 points (four-of-five from the field) and four rebounds in the loss. The 27-year-old has seen his role increase over the past five games due to his defensive effort and floor-spacing ability, while also proving to be a solid scoring option as well.
Robinson is knocking down 54-percent of his field-goal attempts to begin the season.
After originally being in announced in the starting lineup, Richaun Holmes was a late scratch on Saturday night due to a sore ankle, paving the way for Haliburton to log his first NBA start.
Holmes’ status going forward is day-to-day and we will be sure to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Sacramento will face All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings are looking for their first victory over Indiana since December 1, 2018 when they defeated the Pacers by a final of 111-110 on a put-back dunk by Willie Cauley-Stein during the closing seconds.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage starting at 6:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 7:00pm PST.