The Sacramento Kings started the season 21-22 with a 121-124 victory over the Blazers. The Californian team prevailed on their visit to the Moda Center commanded by a sensational Harrison Barnes, who played what was possibly the best game of his career and carried Walton’s men flying for many minutes.
The forward, with 36 points, signed the highest score of his career, surpassing the 34 he achieved in 2016 as a Mavericks player. Most of those points came from the triple, a facet in which, with 8 hits in 11 attempts, Barnes broke another personal record and boasted incredible effectiveness. In addition, with 9 rebounds and 2 steals, he managed to contribute in other areas of the game, signing a magnificent performance that, although it seems obvious that it will not be the norm, it did show that he starts the course with the desire to break the bad streak of the franchise.
His coach, on the other hand, does seem confident that he will see this version of him more often: “This is how I want to see him play every game. I have challenged him to hit eight triples every night. He’s a great shooter and there’s no reason he can’t make those shots. Today we needed each of the points that he has added ».
The forward was seconded by De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes, who with 27 and 21 points respectively also signed a great debut, to which the point guard added 8 assists while the center added 13 rebounds. For his part, Buddy Hield was the best of the substitutes with 17 points, and with his four triples he contributed to Barnes not being the only one to be right from the perimeter.
The one who could not boast of exterior success was Damian Lillard, who started the season by failing the 9 triples he tried, including the one that would have forced the extension on the horn, which significantly tarnished his percentages (33.3% correct) and It prevented him from passing 20 goals, something that he made up for with his 11 assists. The scoring weight of the Blazers therefore fell on CJ McCollum, who was much thinner and managed to go to 34 in a display of resources, as the guard added baskets from practically any distance. Jusuf Nurkic, with 20 points and 14 rebounds, was the third player on the squad to reach twenty.
In this way, Chauncey Billups debuted with defeat in his first official game, continuing the preseason slump, in which Portland lost all four games. However, the coach said he felt notably more satisfied: «In preseason, several people came to the press room unhappy with our effort and our spirit. Today is not the case. We have fought, and although I hate to start losing, in the end this is nothing more than a match. I’m happy with how well we have played »he concluded.
(Cover photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)