2022/23 Game 1 Recap: Portland Trail Blazers def. Sacramento Kings

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The Portland Trail Blazers kicked their season off a night ago with a close fought victory over the talented, up-and-coming Sacramento Kings 115-108, and with good performances all across the board, Blazers fans should no doubt be optimistic for the season ahead. There were no crazy performances on either side, but the Blazers starting lineup were all very solid, and while the bench no doubt needs to improve (and naturally will when Gary Payton II and Trendon Watford return), this is a fun, exciting way to start the season.

The Positive

The starting lineup was the biggest positive for Portland, as Damian Lillard (20 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists), Jerami Grant (23 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist), Josh Hart (19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Anfernee Simons (22 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists), looked very good next to one another, and this should be a strength of the Blazers team throughout the season. The chemistry may not have been there for the entire game, but if the offensive output from the starting lineup can continue, the Blazers should be able to hang with anyone in the NBA, at least when that group is on the floor.

The Negative

It won’t always be like this, as the team were missing two promising young players, but the bench just didn’t have it tonight, as the only solid contributors on the night were the rookie Shaedon Sharpe (12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist) and Justice Winslow (11 points, 8 rebounds). When Payton II and Watford get back, this will be a more well-rounded unit, which should hopefully unlock both Drew Eubanks and Nassir Little, who combined for 0 points in 26 minutes.


Sure, it may have only been Sacramento, but Blazers fans should be quietly confident after this one, as it shows the starting lineup is as good as well all believed they could be, and if the bench can improve, game 1 showed us that Portland have the talent to make it happen, they just need to gel as a unit and work hard defensively, which should give them a great shot at a playoff spot in the Western Conference.