Portland All-Star Damian Lillard scored 50 points in three quarters to lead the Trail Blazers to a 118-100 victory Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
The 50 points were the most the Kings (17-37) have given up to an opponent this season. Lillard is one of seven players in the last 10 seasons to score 50 points or more through three quarters.
Lillard sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Willie Cauley-Stein led Sacramento with 19 points. Zach Randolph had 17 points and nine rebounds. Buddy Hield had 16 points while De’Aaron Fox had 13 points and nine assists.
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Maurice Harkless chipped in 15 points for Portland (31-25).
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The lessons will be painful some nights
Lillard was the teacher and Fox was the student Friday night. Playing point guard in the NBA is a nightly gantlet, and Fox had one of those nights that builds character.
The Kings hope in the future there will be nights when Fox does the teaching.
The upcoming road trip will tough on Fox
The next three opponents all present challenges for Fox, as the Kings’ only healthy point guard. The first game is Sunday at Minnesota against former All-Star Jeff Teague.
Fox gets a break of sorts against Dallas, which also starts a rookie in Dennis Smith Jr., but ends the trip against Houston with Chris Paul and James Harden in the backcourt.
Defense was absent early, then offense cooled
The Kings kept up with Portland in the first quarter, trailing 33-31 at the end of the period. That’s been the kind of fool’s gold start that’s gotten the Kings in trouble.
Sacramento never found its defense and eventually cooled off on offense. Until Sacramento establishes a defensive identity that is consistent, wins will be hard to come by.