Kings overcome Damian Lillard’s 35 to frustrate Trail Blazers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It hasn’t taken long for Marvin Bagley III to regain his rhythm in Sacramento’s offense after missing 11 games with an injured left knee.
The second overall pick in the draft still needs to improve his free throw shooting in the fourth quarter, but Bagley is definitely giving the Kings’ second unit quite a lift.
Bagley had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double, De’Aaron Fox scored 16 points and made a key 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining, and Sacramento beat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-107 on Monday night.
“I feel like I was before I got hurt,” Bagley said after his fourth game back. “When I was out, I still was around. I was still shooting, still was doing stuff. I wasn’t just sitting out. I was getting in shape, still making sure that I was ready. It wasn’t hard to get back into the swing of things.”
Bagley made a pivotal 14-foot turnaround jumper early in the fourth quarter, then went over the back of Zach Collins and tipped in an offensive rebound to put the Kings up 100-88.
That anchored a big night from Sacramento’s bench, which outscored Portland’s reserves 58-34.
“He’s a walking double-double,” said Justin Jackson, who had nine points on three 3-pointers. “You add that back to our team, it adds even more versatility. It allows us to do so many more things within our offense whenever he’s out there on the court.”
Fox also had nine assists, Buddy Hield scored 19 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 on 8-of-10 shooting off the bench. Sacramento has won three straight and four of five.
“We’re playing hard, we’re defending, making extra efforts,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “We’re a team where everybody needs to contribute.”
Damian Lillard scored 35 points to become the fastest player in Portland history to reach 12,000 for his career. Jusuf Nurkic had six points and 11 rebounds, and CJ McCollum scored six on 2-of-14 shooting.
The Trail Blazers, playing the second half of a back-to-back, have lost two straight since winning four in a row.
“We knew coming in that they love to play in transition and we kind of played into their hands,” Lillard said. “We turned the ball over and allowed them to get out in transition. They play the fastest pace in the league, so we made it harder on ourselves than it had to be.”
Sacramento got out to an early lead, held Portland to 17 points in the second quarter and then held off the Trail Blazers down the stretch.
After Lillard’s 17-foot jumper cut the Kings’ lead to 109-103 with 1:47 remaining, Fox came back down the court and calmly drained his only 3 of the night.
Bagley made a free throw and Willie Cauley-Stein added an emphatic dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
Portland struggled offensively across the board, particularly McCollum, who didn’t make a shot after halftime.
Lillard reached 12,000 points in the third quarter of his 514th game. Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler had been the fastest Trail Blazers player to reach the mark, in his 587th game.
“A lot of guys who come into the league who are capable of doing the same thing don’t get the opportunity, the trust or the freedom,” Lillard said. “I’m really thankful for the coaching staff that I play for and the teammates that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with.”
Trail Blazers: Lillard has scored in double figures in 184 consecutive games, breaking a tie with Drexler for the franchise record. . Collins made a tremendous defensive play to block a layup attempt by Yogi Ferrell in the first quarter. . Portland coach Terry Stotts was called for a technical while talking with officials after a foul.
Kings: Fox has made at least one steal in 14 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. . Iman Shumpert was called for a technical foul in the third quarter. Shumpert later had to be walked to the bench by a teammate after arguing with someone on Portland’s bench. Shumpert’s three technicals are tied for second-most on the Kings behind Fox, who has four.
Shumpert had to be stopped by arena and Trail Blazers security from going into Portland’s locker room after the game. Shumpert was apparently angry at Nurkic, who set a hard screen in the second half.
“Some stuff needed to be between me and him, a conversation between two men,” Shumpert said. “Some stuff happened out there that we needed to have a conversation about. That’s it.”
Nurkic shrugged it off.
“I’m not going to worry about it,” Nurkic said. “He’s going into retirement soon. I’m not going to worry about a guy who’s going into retirement soon.”
NOT THIS TIME
When the Blazers beat the Kings two weeks ago, Nurkic became the first player in modern NBA history to have at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks. It was a much different story for Nurkic on Monday. Portland’s big man had five assists and one block but took only seven shots and did not make a steal.
Trail Blazers: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Kings: At the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.
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