Blazers, Down To Just Seven Players, Falter In Second Half Versus Kings

PORTLAND -- Despite having just seven players available, the Portland Trail Blazers held their own in the first half of versus the Sacramento Kings. Portland had a one-point lead after one quarter and only trailed by four going into the intermission.

The second half was a different story.

Portland was outscored 21-7 in the last six minutes of the third quarter and 70-34 in the second half on the way to a 120-80 loss to the Kings in front of a crowd of 18,550 Wednesday night at Moda Center.

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“For us, I just kind of felt like our guys were kinda tired in the second half,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “But we just couldn’t make shots. Some of our better shooters -- Nas (Little), Kevin Knox, and even Jonathan Butler, who’s young -- just couldn’t make threes. Biggest difference was in the second half, (Sacramento) started making threes.”

The Trail Blazers are now 32-43 overall, 17-21 at home this season and have lost six-straight and none of their last 10. With the loss, the Trail Blazers remain in 13th in the West and are tied with the Orlando Magic for the fifth-worst record in the NBA with six games to play.

Shaedon Sharpe led the Trail Blazers with 30 points and seven assists, both new career highs, while also adding seven rebounds and a block in 44 minutes. Kevin Knox II started Wednesday’s contest, his first since being acquired by the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline, and responded with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 39 minutes.

Shaedon Sharpe (30 points) | Portland Trail Blazers | Mar. 29, 2023

Nassir Little also got the start and finished with 10 points, two rebounds and a block in just under 40 minutes. Jabari Walker came off the bench to post 12 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes.

Keon Johnson, who tied his career high in Monday night's loss, broke his finger in Wednesday morning's shootaround. And with Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono and Trendon Watford joining Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant, Portland had just seven players in uniform Wednesday. Only two of those players -- Nassir Little and Drew Eubanks -- who were on the team this time last season.

Domantas Sabonis led the Kings, who clinched their first playoff berth in 16 season with Wednesday night’s win, with 15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes.

The Trail Blazers and Kings will meet again -- same time, same place -- Friday night at Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.