SACRAMENTO -- Rest. It’s the new buzz word in Sacramento. On Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos and Darren Collison missed the game to “rest." With three of the Kings nine rotational players out as healthy scratches and another two out due to injury, the Kings fought hard, but fell to the Blazers by a final of 115-107.
C.J. McCollum lit the Kings up from start to finish. The third-year guard has tormented the Kings this season, averaging 23 points against Sacramento coming in. Once again the Kings had no answer, allowing the NBA’s most improved player to drop 30 points on 11-for-20 shooting.
Two-time All-Star Damian Lillard took a while to get going, but he still managed to chip in 20 points and eight assists on the night.
Moe Harkless finished with 20 points, including 14 in the third quarter and he grabbed 16 rebounds. Mason Plumlee added 12 points and nine rebounds and Gerald Henderson hit for 13 off the bench as the Blazers improved to 42-37 on the season.
DeMarcus Cousins got it going in the first quarter, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the game’s first 12 minutes. He added nine rebounds and three blocks in the loss. With another big performance, Cousins tied Mitch Richmond for the franchise record for a single-season with 26 games with 30 or more points.
With no Collison to give the backcourt a lift, Rajon Rondo went to work. The NBA’s leading assist man posted his sixth triple-double of the season, scoring 27 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out 12 assists. He outplayed Lillard for much of the night on both ends of the court.
Seth Curry continues to turn heads, scoring 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Willie Cauley-Stein added nine points, five rebounds and three blocks starting at the four, but it wasn’t enough as the Kings dropped their 47th game of the season.
STANDOUT PERFORMER I
The Kings passed on McCollum in the 2013 NBA Draft and he won’t let them forget it. Sacramento used the seventh overall selection to take Ben McLemore and the Blazers were more than happy to pick up the talented shooter out of Lehigh three picks later. McCollom dropped 30 on the Kings for the second time this season and helped Portland sweep the season series 4-0.
STANDOUT PERFORMER II
Rondo was a magician on the floor. He helped limit Lillard to just 6-of-18 shooting and his triple-double came early in the fourth.
A bizarre play in the mid-fourth quarter may have changed the outcome of this game. The Kings appeared to pick up a steal, but upon replay, Quincy Acy inadvertently touched the ball while sitting on the Kings bench. Instead of a fast break basket on one end, the Blazers hit the technical foul and retained possession. It was all downhill from there for Sacramento.
Omri Casspi missed his second straight game and is likely out for the season with a strained right hamstring. Marco Belinelli has sat out six in a row with a sore right foot.
The Kings return to their home floor on Thursday night to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second to last game at Sleep Train Arena.