Kings meet little resistance in win over Blazers, but path to playoffs won't be so easy

Jason Anderson, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Basketball

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Kings didn’t encounter much resistance in their regular-season finale against the injury depleted Portland Trail Blazers, but their path to the playoffs won’t be so easy.

De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead the Kings to a 121-82 victory over the Blazers on Sunday before a sellout crowd at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

The Los Angeles Lakers won their game to secure the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, leaving the Kings with the ninth spot and a much tougher road as they enter the play-in tournament.

The No. 9 Kings will face the No. 10 Golden State Warriors in a first-round play-in game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Golden 1 Center in a rematch of last season’s seven-game playoff series. If the Kings beat the Warriors, they will have to go on the road to win a second game — against the loser of the New Orleans Pelicans-Los Angeles Lakers game — to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

“It’s exciting,” Kings guard Davion Mitchell said. “We get to get a little payback for last year. We know they’re going to come in here with energy. We’re playing a home game and it’s going to be loud. It’s going to be physical, but I think we’re ready for it. I think the whole year, we’ve prepared ourselves for it, playing physical on both ends of the floor, and I think we’ll be ready.”

Domantas Sabonis finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Kings (46-36). He posted his 77th double-double of the season, becoming the seventh player in NBA history to reach that total and the first since Moses Malone in 1978-79.


Harrison Barnes scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting with five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Keon Ellis had 13 points and three steals.

Dalano Banton scored 17 points for the Blazers (21-61) before he was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 in the fourth quarter. Banton finished 0 of 15 from 3-point range, setting an NBA record for the most 3-point attempts without a make.

“We just wanted to bring the physicality to them and kind of be the team that knocks them back, and I feel like we did that and opened up the game that way,” Kings forward Keegan Murray said. “We hit them in the mouth in the third quarter, too, so that’s what we wanted to do and we were able to get some rest for guys who normally play a lot.”

All 30 teams were in action on the final day of the regular season with much to be decided.


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