Dec 23, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings small forward John Salmons (5) drives in against Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 108-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Game 26 Recap: Blazers 96, Kings 108

Hey, if you’re going to blow a winning streak, there’s no better way to do it than getting taken to pieces for the second time in three weeks by the wayward and failing Sacramento Kings. The good news is we get to replay this game on Wednesday. The great news is Portland doesn’t have to play the Kings again after that until the 2013-14 season.

I hope you were doing something fun last night. Maybe you were like me and attending a holiday party and only following Portland’s progress on you phone or on Twitter. Let’s hope that you weren’t playing Grinch to your own Christmas and actually watching this game. The season and these Blazers are still young. They’re still developing a personality. They’re still trying to find a way to win night in and night out. They’ll get there. There are going to be bumps along the way, Sunday’s big time loss in Sacramento was one of those bumps.

Growing pains are to be expected. It’s when a team lets one bad game turn into a bad week or they let a bad week turn into a bad month or they let a bad month turn into a bad season that you have the Washington Wizards. Every game is important. Something can be learned every night. That being said, some times you have a game that needs to be forgotten by the team that lost it by the time they are on the bus leaving the Sleep Train Area. That’s what a young Blazer team can learn from Sunday. Saturday night you’re the winner of five straight, a game above .500, looking at cracking the top eight, flying as high as can be. Sunday night you’ve lost again to the Kings, and need a win to avoid losing that season series. Fates have a tendency to change over night.

Portland is probably not a playoff team, so really all the hype about getting over .500 is basically just hype. They’re a good team. though. They have a ton of potential. What they need to do right now is forget Sunday happened, forget they somehow couldn’t make a defensive stop, forget that two times now they’ve somehow managed to morph Travis Outlaw version 12-13 into Travis Outlaw version 08-09. Dwelling on this game is not in the best interests of this team, and it’s not in the best interest of fans of this team.

Go enjoy your holidays. The Blazers have a chance to get back on track and same their season (series against the Kings) Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.

Couple quick things:

  • Sunday night, Portland allowed the Kings to shoot 56% from the field (45-of-81) and 47% from three (9-of-19). The last time these two teams played back on December 8th, Sacramento shot 42% from the field (36-of-86) and 47% from three (an identical 9-of-19). The first time the Blazers and Kings played this season on November 13th, Sacramento’s shooting percentages were 47% from the field (36-of-77) and a whopping 10% from three (1-of-11). One of those three nights was an outlier. Can you guess which one? Sunday, the Kings got threes from Marcus Thornton (2-of-5), John Salmons (1-of-3), Aaron Brooks (2-of-3), Isaiah Thomas (2-of-4), Jimmer Fredette (1-of-3), and Travis Outlaw (1-of-1). Not a single guy that got hot, but a bunch of shooters knocking down the shots they’re expected to make. Saturday in Portland, the Blazers were running Phoenix’s three-point shooters off the line, taking away their long-distance game. If the magic number for the Kings to beat the Blazers is 47% from three, then the Blazers know what they need to stop. For the record, Portland shot poorly from three in Sunday’s loss (29%), a little better from three in their first loss to the Kings (38%), and outstanding from deep in their blowout win in Sacramento in November (52% getting five threes from Damian Lillard alone). Portland and Sacramento are both jump shooting teams. Maybe a specific percentage won’t determine a winner, but whatever team shoots better from three will probably win on Wednesday.
  • Speaking of Wednesday, Twitter is reporting that DeMarcus Cousins has been reinstated, meaning on that day he will suit up and play against the Blazers (tweet via Matt Moore, article also via Matt Moore). As of Monday, the Kings are 1-1 against Portland without DMC, and 1-0 against Portland with DMC. Will the results even out Wednesday? Tune in to find out.
  • So like I said might happen following the Suns game, maybe I brought back my Standings Watch a little early. I won’t run down the standings and Portland’s position relative to the playoffs again until the Blazers have reached two games over .500.

Box Score

Standings

@mikeacker | @ripcityproject | [email protected]

Dec 23, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings mascot holds mistletoe during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 108-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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