Blazers Overthrow The Kings

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Anfernee Simons scored 29, Duop Reath tallied a new career game, and the Blazers beat the Kings handily, 130-113 in Portland. Sacramento were led by dual Kings, De’aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. They combined for 77 points, but found little help among the role players.

Portland tallied win number eight of the season, rising to 8-21, while Sacramento falls to 17-12. The Blazers missed their starting center, Deandre Ayton (knee) and sophomore guard, Shaedon Sharpe (thigh). For the first time of the year, the Kings were fully healthy.

The Blazers host the San Antonio Spurs for a back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. The Kings will continue on the road against Atlanta on Friday.

Blazers Overthrow The Kings! Star Efforts

Fox tallied the game-high 43 points, making from distance, sprinkling in four assists and grabbing eight rebounds. The only flaw to his game was a lack of ball security, as he committed five turnovers. Sabonis aided Fox’s efforts in the paint, scoring 34 points and pulling down 12 rebounds for his 24th double-double of the season to go with five assists.

Meanwhile, Simons led the way for Blazers, building on the resume with a 29 points, three assists and four rebounds. The young guard played a balanced game, scoring in all four quarters. Co-pilot Malcolm Brogdon also had a sneakily good game wuth 19 points, six assists and five rebounds on some nifty layups.

Scoot Henderson came off the bench to tally his second career double-double, notching 17 points and 11 assists for a complete effort. Despite struggling to finish, he continued to drive for free throw opportunities. More importantly, his playmaking took the pressure off Simons to do it all.

Reath powered the second unit with a career-high 25 points and nine rebounds. He feasted inside and outside, swallowing up offensive rebounds, running the floor and making 3-6 three pointers. Reath also provided solid post defense on Sabonis and would close the game due to his spacing.

“Doup was so focused and locked in,” said Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups after the game, “I’ve been on him about needing some rebounds and being better defensively and also, if you’re not shooting when you’re out there, I don’t know what advantage you give us.”

Jabari Walker joined his fellow reserves with an efficient 17 points and six rebounds. His only misses came from beyond arc, and his length was key in several hustle plays, catching deflections and blocked shots for extra opportunities

“You look at what Sabonis did, it was impressive, but we were able to absorb it because we had so many different efforts from everybody,” said Billups. And when it was all said and done, the Blazers’ bench outscored their opposing counterparts by fifty, 65-15.

Game Recap

Sacramento started strong, playing through Sabonis’ offense and speeding their way to an eight-point lead. The Kings bullied the Blazers down low throughout the quarter, outscoring their hosts 26-12 in the paint. But Portland responded with an offensive flurry from Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon to take the lead, 11-10.

The game entered a back-and-forth phase, as both teams went to their strengths. The Blazers struck from distance, while the Kings found their way inside. Grant and Simons would barrage from three to go up 20-18, before Sabonis and help would carve the key like a holiday ham for a 29-24 advantage.

Reserves Reath and Walker, not wanting to miss out on the fun inside, warmed up quickly and helped close the quarter within one.

In the second quarter, the Blazers came out determined to ensure they did not fall victim to early success. The key plays came from Walker. Like an elastic man, he caught a blocked Brogdon three-point attempt with full extension and drove to the rim. The very next play Matisse Thybulle generated a deflection and redirected it to Reath, who found Walker on a cut to the basket before ending up at the line. He would drain both shots to capitalize a 13-6 run to give his team the five-point advantage.

“We lost our way a bit defensively. When we play well, it’s our defense that fuels the offense,” said Billups.

From there, the Blazers started building a lead. They forced one-and-done possessions with awkward shots, blocks and drawn charges en route to seven turnovers on the quarter. Then Simons and Henderson turned the tables on their visitors, parading into the paint for layup after layup. When Henderson didn’t find the rim, he was finding Reath down-low.

The Blazers rookie would punctuate the run with a two-handed thunder dunk after crossing over Keegan Murray for the jam en route to a 57-42 lead. Out of the timeout, Sacramento started their counter. Fox and Sabonis resumed their bountiful partnership inside the paint and despite a Henderson crossover shaking him out of his shoes, Fox finished the game on a 10-point run to close the half as the Kings trailed the Blazers, 67-60.

The third quarter started much as the game itself. As both teams matched shot-for-shot and Grant and Brogdon carried the offensive load. Another run from the Kings’ main duo shaved the lead down to three, but the Blazers just kept finding answers inside and outside.

If it wasn’t Grant, it was Brogdon; If it wasn’t Brogdon, it was Simons. If it wasn’t Simons, it was Henderson; if it wasn’t Henderson, it was Reath. And if it wasn’t Reath, it was Walker. Altogether, they closed the quarter up, 104-95.

The Blazers would finish the game through the twin offense of Simons and Reath, who pushed the lead to 17. Fox tried to shoot the Kings back into the contest, but a Thybulle three to make it 130-111 would seal the game and the win.

Stats and Quotes

The Blazers outshot their visitors, making 49 shots on 50% shooting to edge out the Kings’ solid mark of 45-93 (48.4%) from the floor. Key differences came behind the lines. Despite outshooting the Blazers at the rim and short midrange, the Kings struggled from three, 10-42 (23.8%). Portland converted 16 threes on 40 makes for a robust 40% shooting. They also edged Sacramento at the freethrow line, making 16-20 (80%) where their visitors managed 13-16 (81.3%). However the biggest difference came off the bench, as Portland demolished Sacramento for 65 points to 15.

“You know when you play against this team you’re going to have your hands full with De’aron, you’re going to have your hands full with Sabonis,” said Billups, summarizing that “when the Huerters and Monks and Keegans get you eight, 16, 12, 17, that’s when [Sacramento] can go get 140 on you.”

Adding to merriment, the Blazers turned weaknesses into strengths, nearly matching the Kings in the paint 60-62, out rebounding them 46-40 and taking a two-assist advantage, 28-26. They also took care of the ball, only committing seven turnovers to the Kings’ dozen. The teams matched steals with five apiece, but the Kings took advantage in blocks, 7-5 and points off turnovers, 18-12.

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