Sacramento Kings

How the Kings defended the home floor with contributions from the guards and rookies

The Kings recorded their fourth consecutive home victory with a 115-107 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at Golden 1 Center. Here are three takeaways from the game:

Guards lead the way again

The Kings’ three leading scorers are guards: Starters Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox are joined by reserve Bogdan Bogdanovic to combine for 53.3 points per game.

So it was only fitting that Sacramento’s guard trio led the way again.

Hield had a solid shooting night, going 7 for 10 overall and 2 of 4 from the arc to lead the Kings (23-21) with 19 points. Bogdanovic only missed two of his 10 attempts and scored 18. Fox’s shooting wasn’t great, but he had 16 points, nine assists and no turnovers.

The Kings survived another big night from Damian Lillard, who had a game-high 35 points for the Trail Blazers (26-19) and became the fastest player in franchise history to reach the 12,000-point mark. He did it in his 514th game, 73 contests faster than Clyde Drexler.

Rookies make an impact

Neither Marvin Bagley III nor Harry Giles III start for the Kings. However, the rookies made their presence felt.

Bagley recorded his first double-double since Dec. 12, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. It’s only a span of five games, because the No. 2 overall pick missed 11 contests with a left knee bone bruise and was held out of the second of a back-to-back last week in Phoenix. He played 24 minutes in his fourth game back from the injury.

Giles looked comfortable on both sides of the floor, but even more on offense. He made his first four shots, which included a couple of jumpers and a vicious throw-down on a pass from De’Aaron Fox. Overall, he went 6 for 7 for 12 points.

“They are starting to spend some time together and starting to get a rhythm,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “Marvin Bagley is returning from injury and he’s starting to find a rhythm and still working on it. Harry and Marvin are doing a great job of gobbling up rebounds.”

Taking advantage of the freebies

The Kings have one of the lowest free-throw percentages in the NBA. Coming into Monday, they were third-to-last at 70.6 percent.

It didn’t seem evident in this one.

The Kings made 19 of 24, including their first 13. De’Aaron Fox, who shoots just 72.2 percent from the line, was 9 for 10 and for the second consecutive game made his first eight free throws.

Three players were perfect, including Willie Cauley-Stein (4 for 4), Hield (3 for 3) and Yogi Ferrell (2 for 2).

Take Bagley’s struggles out of the equation (he was 1 for 5) and it was a solid night from the stripe.

Noel Harris: 916-321-1602, @SacBeeNoel

Upcoming schedule for the Kings

▪ Jan. 17: Road vs. Charlotte Hornets – When these teams meet for the second time in less than a week, it will tip off a season-long six-game trip for the Kings.

▪ Jan. 19: Road vs. Detroit Pistons – This matchup comes a little more than a week after the Kings went wire to wire in beating the Pistons in Sacramento. They’ll look to avenge last season’s sweep with one of their own.

▪ Jan. 21: Road vs. Brooklyn Nets – This will be the first meeting between the teams this season. Sacramento swept the series in 2017-18. The Nets were seventh in the Eastern Conference entering Monday and seek their first playoff berth in four seasons.

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