Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ 118-115 preseason loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at Moda Center.
Sick to their stomachs
Kings coach Dave Joerger and point guard De’Aaron Fox both missed the game with a stomach illness.
The team said Joerger and Fox began experiencing symptoms early Friday morning, hours after the Kings suffered a 132-93 loss to the Utah Jazz. Both were ruled out for Friday’s game and remained at the team hotel. Each is listed as day-to-day.
Assistant coach Elston Turner assumed head-coaching duties for the night. With Fox out of the lineup, Turner started Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason III in the backcourt.
Fox struggled badly in the loss to Utah, making 1 of 10 field goal attempts, 0 of 3 from 3-point range and 2 of 5 from the free-throw line. He finished with four points, three rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.
“We’ve had, at different times, people out with injury or rest or things like that,” Turner said. “You just hope that it doesn’t affect their stamina when they return. If you’re going to get sick, I guess now’s the best time to do it, four or five days before (the start of the regular season).”
Sacramento turned in a much better effort against Portland despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back against a team that won 49 games and was seeded third in the Western Conference playoffs last season.
The Kings fell behind early and trailed 32-20 at the end of the opening period, but they battled back to take a 55-54 lead on a 3-pointer by Ferrell late in the first half. They went up 66-61 early in the third before the Trail Blazers mounted an 11-4 run to regain the lead.
The Kings were much more active defensively, staying closer to their men on the perimeter and contesting shots at the rim. One of the highlights of the night came when rookie Marvin Bagley III blocked a shot by CJ McCollum, Mason corralled the rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and floated a lob to Willie Cauley-Stein, who threw down an emphatic two-handed dunk.
The Kings led early in the fourth quarter and had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Mason just missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Buddy Hield and Ferrell scored 19 points apiece. Bagley had 15 points and six rebounds.
One-time Kings Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry laid into their former team Friday night.
Stauskas, who spent the 2014-15 season in Sacramento, made 4 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 15 points. Curry, who played for the Kings in 2015-16, had 10 points and four assists.
Stauskas and Curry are both in their first year with the Blazers. Stauskas averaged 4.4 points in 41 games for Brooklyn and Philadelphia last season. Curry, who missed last season with a left tibia injury that required surgery, averaged 12.8 points for Dallas in 2016-17.