SACRAMENTO KINGS

Fox & Sabonis combine for 77 points, but Kings lose to Blazers

Dec 26, 2023, 9:48 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm

(Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)

There have been more highs than lows for the Sacramento Kings thus far in the 2023-24 season, but Tuesday night’s game in Portland established a new low.

Although De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis did everything in their power to lead the Kings to a win, the rest of the offense–and especially the defense–fell flat against a Blazers team that was missing two starters in Shaedon Sharpe and Deandre Ayton.

Portland might have entered play having lost nine of its past ten games, but that didn’t matter in this one as an ordinarily quiet offense racked up a season-high in points during a 130-113 win over Sacramento at the Moda Center.

Fox nearly set a new career-high with 43 points and Sabonis scored 34 points of his own, but no other member of the Kings finished with more than nine points.

Sacramento (17-12) is off to a rough start to this three-game road trip as they dropped another double-digit loss to a Blazers team that entered play ranked 29th in points per game (108.0).

Kings vs. Blazers Takeaways

Fox & Sabonis vs. All

Sacramento’s All-Star duo kept this game from getting ugly before the halftime break.

After asserting themselves in the paint during the first quarter, the Kings went silent on offense during the second quarter, while Portland capitalized on fast-break opportunities and 11-of-14 shooting inside the paint.

The Blazers’ lead grew to as many as 19 points during the first half, but Sacramento kept things close entering the halftime break thanks to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis was a force during the first quarter, scoring 14 of his 20 first-half points in the paint, while Fox caught fire near the end of the second when the rest of the Kings’ offense was stuck in the mud.

Fox scored ten-straight points on his own, including a last-second triple off a steal that trimmed Sacramento’s deficit to 67-60 heading into the second half.

The 26-year-old guard scored 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting during the first 24 minutes of play, marking the third time over the past four games that he has scored 20 points or more during the first half.

Both Fox and Sabonis crossed the 30-point mark during the third quarter, but a disappointing Kings defense allowed the Trail Blazers to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end, especially in the paint.

Once Sabonis picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter, it was once again on Fox’s shoulders to keep the game from getting out of hand, but Sacramento needed more from its supporting cast to keep themselves afloat.

Help never arrived for Fox and Sabonis, as no other member of the Kings offense finished with more than nine points during the loss.

Fox was incredible, especially from downtown, as the guard established a new career-high with seven made three-point field goals. The reigning Clutch Player of the Year finished with 43 points–one point shy of tying his career-high–on 16-of-26 shooting (seven-of-15 from three) to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Sabonis posted his twelfth-straight double-double (tied for second-most in the NBA) during a 34-point, 12-rebound effort while shooting 14-of-19 from the field and handing out five assists over 36 minutes.

The defense was the main culprit in this loss, as Sacramento couldn’t slow down Portland’s offense–but the box score makes it clear that offense wasn’t going to be a saving grace for the Kings on Tuesday.

When you remove Fox and Sabonis’ 77 points on 30-of-45 (66%) shooting, the rest of Sacramento’s offense contributed 36 points on 15-of-48 (31%) shooting from the field and three-of-27 (11%) from three-point range.

Yikes. Big yikes.

Blazing The Kings Defense

There isn’t much else to say other than the Sacramento Kings defense got worked by the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Portland might have entered play averaging 108.0 points per game, but they became the latest team to look elite against Sacramento’s uninspiring defense.

The Blazers went 50 percent from the field while shooting 16-of-40 (40%) from downtown during the win, with 60 points coming in the paint and 15 on second-chance points.

Rookie center Duop Reath was the leading charge off Portland’s bench, as Reath scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds during the win. The Blazers’ bench combined to score 65 points on Tuesday, nearly doubling the rest of the Kings’ scoring output outside of Fox and Sabonis (36 points).

Sacramento’s defense continues to act as a dark cloud over what has been an overall strong start to the season.

Bad losses happen for all 30 teams during each NBA season. There is no avoiding the fact that you will drop some games that, on paper, you shouldn’t have.

But this marks the Kings’ sixth loss by 15+ points this year. Last season, Sacramento lost seven games by 15+ points.

With a large chunk of the season still to be played, it’s a bad sign that this Kings team either wins or loses by a significant margin.

Injury Updates

Malik Monk (right foot soreness) returned to the lineup after missing one game.

Alex Len (right high ankle sprain) made his return to the active roster after missing 19 games.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

The road trip will continue on Friday evening as Sacramento will face the Atlanta Hawks for the first time this season.

Last year, Atlanta swept the two-game series to improve to 4-0 over their past four games against the Kings. The last time Sacramento defeated the Hawks in Atlanta was November 8, 2019.

Be sure to tune in to Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Hawks coverage, beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from Atlanta, Georgia.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, December 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 3rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Orlando Magic – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 5th – Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM PST

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