Kings Under Review: Trail Blazers Battle Back Late to Steal One in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings have hit a hiccup. For the second straight game they rallied to take a fourth quarter lead and then melted down the stretch when the opposition turned up the intensity.

It's a young team issue and Sacramento needs to fight through. They allowed Portland to erase a nine point deficit in the final three minutes of the game and then the Kings collapsed in their first overtime session of the season.

Sacramento currently stands at 19-18 on the season. Here are a few positives and negatives from the team's 113-108 loss to the Trail Blazers.


Harry Giles comes to play

The Kings have been waiting for the rookie to have a breakout performance. He's made a few stops in Stockton with the team's G League affiliate and spent plenty of time watching from the bench.

Giles entered the game for the first time in the third quarter and instantly made an impact. He played defense, set screens, hit the glass and even made a couple of nice moves.

The 20-year-old out of Duke has struggled to stay out of foul trouble and turnovers have been an issue as well. In 13 minutes of action, he gave the ball away just once and failed to register a personal foul. That's a huge improvement over what we have seen in previous games.

If Giles can play under control like he did against Portland, he'll earn more time. He finished the night with six points, seven rebounds, a steal and a block.


The Collapse, the sequel

For the second time in as many games, the Sacramento Kings had an opponent on the ropes in the late fourth quarter and let off the gas. Like Sunday in Los Angles, the team's inability to make shots in crunch time cost them a win.

The Kings didn't settle for jumpers like they did against the Lakers, but it didn't matter where they shot from, the ball didn't go in. Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless all did a nice job of defending the paint and Sacramento went away from Bogdan Bogdanovic, who had got them back in the game with his shooting in the third and early fourth.

Games like this against tough, experienced opponents are going to happen in the course of an NBA season. The Kings need to grow from the experience and figure out how to finish.


Buddy is Back

Buddy Hield struggled in back-to-back games coming out of the Christmas holiday. He found his range against the Lakers and then put on a show early against the Trail Blazers.

Hield caught fire from distance, knocking down 5-of-8 from behind the arc. He attacked Portland's guards to finish with 27 points on 11-of-23 shooting overall and he added five rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes of action.

The Kings' starting shooting guard has now scored a combined 48 points over the last two games and pushed his season average to 19.9 per game.


The Stripe

Las Vegas experts aren't the only ones who haven't bought into the Kings early success. The officiating crew isn't ready to give the Sacramento the benefit of the doubt either.

It's hard to argue a lot of the foul calls that Nurkic got throughout the evening. Sacramento's bigs pounded the Bosnian center, sending him to the line all night, where he hit 14-of-16.

This isn't the first time this has happened this season, but the Kings couldn't get a call. They attacked the rim in the fourth and again in the overtime session and came away with almost nothing from the officiating crew.

The Kings were the aggressors for most of the night. Rarely do you see a team attempt 55 shots in the paint and only hit 22 of them. The fact that they went to the free throw line just 12 times on the night is a head scratcher.

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