Team Records: Portland (1-0) at Sacramento (0-1)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -5
Refs: Zach Zarba, Tre Maddoz, Leon Wood
The Skinny: The Blazers face their first road contest of the season as they travel to Sacramento. The Blazers won their home opener Wednesday while Sacramento dropped theirs to the Warriors. This is the sole game in Portland’s opening stretch versus one of the NBA’s lesser teams, so it would be very nice if Portland could win this one.
Last Season: The Blazers won the season series 3-1, winning both home games and splitting on the road. Portland has won four of the last five overall versus Sacramento.
Projected Kings Lineup:
PF-Jason Thompson (Rider-7th Season)-2 PPG, 7 RPG, 0 APG.
SF-Rudy Gay (Connecticut-9th Season)-14 PPG, 9 RPG, 0 APG.
C-DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky-5th Season)-20 PPG, 11 RPG, 1 APG
SG-Ben McLemore (Kansas-2nd Season)-0 PPG, 2 RPG, 1 APG.
PG-Darren Collison (UCLA-6th Season)-13 PPG, 4 RPG, 8 APG.
Player to Watch: DeMarcus Cousins (pictured at right)- Cousins is one of the bigger enigmas in professional basketball. Widely recognized as a talented player, his biggest problem has often been his inability to control his emotions. When he is on, however, he was on big time, averaging nearly a double-double and impressing at both ends of the court. He needs to have his emotions in check for the Kings to have a chance.
Did You Know?: Mitch Richmond was elected to the Hall of Fame this year, becoming the first player in the franchises’s Sacramento era (14th overall) to make the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Song of the Day: “This is Halloween” from the “Nightmare Before Christmas”. An appropriate song for Halloween. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-C Meyers Leonard (Illness)
Sacramento is living proof that just because you constantly have top draft picks doesn’t mean that you’ll actually make good use of them. The Kings have had top ten times the past five years and have two decent picks in that era (Cousins and Tyreke Evans). The rest of their picks, and their roster as a whole, seems to have been put together seemingly without a plan. Sacramento is sloppy, they don’t play defense very well and when Cousins isn’t on the court they lack any consistent offensive threat. Their best hope is for one of their streaky shooters to get hot and hope for the best. The Warriors played pretty poorly in Wednesday’s opener and still won because Sacramento was worse, so it doesn’t usually take a great effort to beat them, merely a good one.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. The Kings are not capable of beating Portland if the Blazers are ready to go and play a reasonably clean game. If they are focused, the Blazers should roll.
Sacramento wins if: They score at least 20 fast break points. The Kings will need to take advantage of any easy baskets they get if they want to get the win.